Air India, Vistara avoid mid-air collision; 261 passengers were on board

The Vistara's UK 997 Pune-bound aircraft from Delhi was just 100 feet away from the Air India's AI 631 flight for Bhopal. Both the airlines had 261 passengers (Vistara- 152 and Air India-109) on board.

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Air India, Vistara avoid mid-air collision; 261 passengers were on board

A mid-air disaster was averted in the Mumbai air space when a Vistara aircraft came close to an Air India plane, PTI reported on Sunday.  The report came on a day a Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people crashed near Moscow. However, Air India-Vistara incident happened last week on Wednesday (February 7).

According to the report, the Vistara's UK 997 Pune-bound aircraft from Delhi was just 100 feet away from the Air India's AI 631 flight for Bhopal. Both the airlines had 261 passengers (Vistara- 152 and Air India-109) on board. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has initiated a probe into the incident.

The news agency reported that the AI flight captain has written in her resolution advisory report that the aircraft was just 100 feet away when it was taken to a safer distance. The collision was averted after an automatic warning alerted the pilots of the two planes of being in close proximity to each other.

The commander of the Air India flight acted swiftly on the instrument warning and steered the aircraft to a safer distance, a senior official of the airline told PTI. He further said:"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 Vistara aircraft continued descending. So, finally, when our pilot saw the warning (the Vistara aircraft breaching the mandatory separation) on board, she just took the corrective action and turned the aircraft from the collision point," Air India said. The Air India pilot's action was perfect as she followed the resolution advisory and steered the aircraft to a safer distance, it added.

Speaking on the incident, Vistara spokesperson said: "In this particular incident, the resolution advisory (by the Traffic Collision Avoidance System or TCAS) got triggered due to conflicting traffic. Our pilot followed the standard operating procedure to avoid it and carried out an uneventful landing. The matter is under investigation by the relevant authority."

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 Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has cleared Air India's pilot for flying, the airline official said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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