Vistara Flight and Air India planes merely dodge mid-air collision by seconds in Mumbai airspace. The incident reportedly took place on February 7 in the Mumbai airspace after 8 pm when Air India’s Airbus A-319 was flying from Mumbai to Bhopal as AI 631 and Vistara’s A-320 Neo was flying from Delhi to Pune as UK 997.
The two Vistara pilots have been grounded by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) after the incident however, Vistara sources said the air traffic control (ATC) had asked the pilots to be at 27,000 feet and they did not do so inadvertently.
The two aircraft were flying in the opposite direction when Vistara flight descended to an altitude at which Air India was flying. AI 631 and UK 997 were 100 feet apart vertically and 2.8km laterally apart nearly seconds away from each other.
At that moment, the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) alarms went off in the cockpits of both planes, and the pilots managed to avoid a midair collision.
TCAS is an on-board equipment that advises pilots regarding the traffic in the proximity of the aircraft and also prescribes what action a pilot can take to maintain the desired separation between the aircraft.
“The Air India aircraft was going as per the ATC instructions. There was no confusion. But it seems that something had gone wrong between the Vistara pilot and the ATC as the Vistara aircraft kept descending while the ATC was giving different instructions. There was some kind of an argument between them,” the Air India official said.
Although Vistara spokesperson have reported that the resolution advisory (RA) got triggered due to conflicting traffic and the pilots followed the SOP (standard operating procedure) to avoid it and carried out an uneventful landing, concerned authorities are investigating the matter.