AirAsia, Indigo Flights Came Within 8 KMs Of Each Other Due To ‘Loss Of Situational Awarness’: Report

New Delhi: AirAsia India’s Ahmedabad-Chennai flight and IndiGo’s Bengaluru-Vadodara flight came within 8 km of each other with 300 ft vertical separation between them over Mumbai airspace earlier on January 29, said an Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).The report said the probable cause for this “serious incident” was the air traffic controller’s “loss of situational awareness”.The report added another probable cause was that the situation was evaluated by the controller at the Mumbai airport “under the influence of preconceived mind”.The report, which was released earlier this month, while explaining the incident said that most of the flights that go from Ahmedabad to southern India overfly Bhavnagar.READ: ‘All Time Record’: Over 55K Indian Students’ Visa Approved To Study In USThe AirAsia India flight was, however, on January 29 on a route, which is usually taken by the planes descending to land at the Mumbai airport.The report further said the “heading of both aircraft became reciprocal to each other” but at different altitudes due to the change in routing by AirAsia India flight and “direct routing” of the IndiGo flight that was coming from the opposite direction.The automation system of the air traffic controller issued a “predicted conflict warning” at this time when there was enough lateral separation, the report said.The report said the controller, however, did not respond to the visual “predicted conflict warning”.Stating the controller presumed that the AirAsia India flight was following its usual route over Bhavnagar due to his or her previous experience, the report added the controller, therefore, perceived that the AirAsia India flight is not in the immediate vicinity of the IndiGo flight.The report further said the AirAsia India flight had reached 38,008 ft while the IndiGo flight was flying at 38,000 ft by the time the controller realised the situation.The report added the AirAsia India flight continued its ascent as its traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) issued a warning to the pilots.“It (Air Asia India flight) was at 38,396 feet when the conflicting traffic was resolved,” PTI quoted the report as stating. The IndiGo flight maintained an altitude of 38,000 feet.The report mentioned the “minimum separation between both the aircraft was recorded as 8 km laterally while (it was) 300 feet vertical(ly) when the AirAsia India flight was below the IndiGo flight and it was 6.5 km laterally when the vertical separation was 500 feet when IndiGo flight was below the AirAsia India flight”.With an emphasis on situational awareness and the importance of warnings generated on the automation system, the report recommended that suitable corrective training may be imparted to the controller.“It is recommended that Airports Authority of India may reassess the volume of traffic in all sectors which were withdrawn due to less number of traffic during the lockdown and may implement sectors as before pandemic,” the report said.

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