Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Pilots who averted accident taken off duty: Jet Airways and Air India Express

New Delhi, Nov 9 (PTI) Pilots of Jet Airways and Air India Express, who averted a possible accident at the Tiruchirappalli airport two days ago, have been taken off duty pending investigation into the incident by aviation regulator DGCA.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has begun a probe into the November seven incident, has also taken into custody the Flight Data Recorders of the two planes to ascertain the communication data, official sources said. Maintaining that air traffic control (ATC) staff were also being questioned, they said the cockpit crew were taken off duty as a routine measure so that they were available when required for the probe.

It was a close shave on Monday afternoon when a Jet Airways flight for Chennai was about to take off and an Air India Express aircraft from Abu Dhabi landed at the same time. There were 170 passengers on board the Air India Express flight and 59 in Jet. When the Jet pilot observed the AI Express flight approaching the runway from opposite direction and manoeuvred the flight towards left according to the standard operating procedure, the AI Express pilot also veered the flight to avoid any untoward incident.

A senior officer of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday conducted an inquiry into Monday's incident at the Tiruchi Airport where a possible collision was averted between Air India Express and Jet Airways aircraft.

S. Durairaj, Senior Air Safety Officer, DGCA, Chennai, arrived here on Monday night hours after the incident took place around 2 p.m.

According to initial reports, the Air India Express flight on the Chennai-Tiruchi-Abu Dhabi sector was cleared for landing on runway 9, but approached runway 27 from the opposite direction of the Chennai-bound Jet Airways ATR aircraft that had just taken off. The Air India Express aircraft subsequently took a diversion to land safely.

Mr. Durairaj, who interacted with the Air India Express engineer at the airport on Monday night, continued his inquiry on Tuesday with officials at the Air Traffic Control.

Recordings of the communication between the ATC and the commander of the Air India Express have been sent to Mumbai for examination.

The recordings will establish the circumstances that led to the incident. A report will be submitted to the DGCA headquarters, sources said.