Air India, Jet flights escape disaster at Mumbai airport

May 31st, 2009 - 3:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, May 31 (IANS) An aviation disaster was averted at Mumbai airport Sunday when two aircraft got clearance to take off simultaneously from two runways but the pilots stopped the planes in the nick of time, an airport official said.
The incident occurred at 7.27 a.m. when Air India’s Mumbai-Delhi and Jet Airways’ Mumbai-Kolkata flight were scheduled for departure.

While the Air India aircraft with 119 passengers was awaiting take-off on the main runway 927, the Jet plane with 120 passengers awaited at the cross-runway 1427, the official said.

After clearance from the Air Traffic Control (ATS), both aircraft started moving and came almost opposite each other before their pilots aborted the take off.

This is the second major instance of a near-collision at Mumbai airport in the past four months.

On Feb 9, a near-collision between a helicopter in the president’s air entourage and an Air India flight was averted.

Mumbai airport, among the busiest in the world, has two runways running across each other (in X formation). While the main runway is used round-the-clock, the cross-runway (1427) is used for six hours daily.

There is generally a few minutes gap between every take off. The runways are alternatively used for take-off and landing.

The ATC is now actively considering a proposal to use the cross-runway round-the-clock to ease air congestion over Mumbai.

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