ATC alert: Near miss averted

A near miss situation was averted at the IGI airport last evening when the pilot of a small plane entered the runway after but an alert ATC directed an incoming aircraft to go around and another to abort take-off.

But Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra said, "It is not a serious incident", while a Civil Aviation Ministry official said the mistake was "immediately noticed and the situation was brought under control".

The incident occured at 1903 hours when the pilot of a private plane, having call sign VT-LTA, entered Runway 28 by misreading an ATC instruction, sent to another plane with VT-CLA call-sign to cross the runway, as its own, ATC sources said.

When VT-CLA, a Cessna-560 of A R Airways, was asked to vacate runway on landing, the pilot of VT-LTA (a Hawker-Beechcraft 900XP of L&T Aviation Services), which was crossing over to Terminal 1-D from Terminal-3, misread the instruction and got into the runway, the sources said.

This happened when a Jet Airways Boeing 737 was readying for take-off and another plane of the same airline was coming in to land, they said. While the departing aircraft was to fly to Doha, the descending B-737 was coming from Chennai.

An alert ATC immediately asked the B-737 pilot to abort take-off and the commander of the descending aircraft to make a go-around as the runway was occupied, the sources said.

"This was a clear case of runway incursion. Such incidents are common and routinely handled by the ATC," they said, adding that the aviation regulator has begun a probe.

An Airports Authority of India spokesperson said, "ATC handled the situation as per laid down procedures without any incident."

He said VT-LTA, "Prior to crossing the Runway for proceeding to Terminal T3 from Terminal 1D, probably mistook the clearance meant for the other aircraft and entered the runway inadvertently."

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