Mid-air collision between Vistara A320neo and Air India A319 at an altitude of 27000ft over Mumbai airspace on 7 feb, 2018 was avoided. Vistara flight UK997 with 155 passenger on board was assigned the flight altitude of 29,000 feet while Air India flight AI631 Bhopal with 109 onboard was flying at 27,000 ft.
Both airplanes were flying towards each other at high speeds in opposite direction. Then, the Vistara pilots flying UK 997 descends it down to 27,100 ft with just 100 feet away from being collided with the Air India flight AI631, flying vertically with almost 2 kilometers apart.
As airplanes were approaching each other, Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) alerted the crew on both planes who took necessary action to avoid the mid-air collision.
According to sources close to the incident, at one point, AI631 and UK997 flights were 100 feet apart vertically and 2.8km laterally apart. They were just seconds away from each other.
Following the incident, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has grounded two of the Vistara pilots, pending investigation, while the Air India pilots have been cleared for flying.
Reacting to the incident, a Vistara spokesperson said “In this particular incident, the resolution advisory (RA) got triggered due to conflicting traffic. Vistara’s pilot followed the SOP (standard operating procedure) to avoid it and carried out an uneventful landing. The matter is under investigation by relevant authorities”
Meanwhile, an Air India official said, “This was indeed a very close call. Our crew was acting just as it should have. There must have been some serious confusion between air traffic control and Vistara pilots that led to this.”
This is the second near miss incident over Maharashtra skies in a fortnight. On January 28, IndiGo and Emirates airplanes breached the minimum distance over Nagpur when the IndiGo A-320 was flying from Hyderabad to Raipur and the Emirates Boeing 777 was on its way from Singapore to Dubai.