IAF chief says uniformed pilots not involved in close Mumbai air mishap

February 12th, 2009 - 2:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Pratibha Patil

By Praful Kumar Singh
Bangalore, Feb 12 (ANI): Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major has defended his pilots and ruled out their involvement in a near collision involving two aircraft at Mumbai airport.
Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major told reporters here on Wednesday that the Air Force pilots were not at fault as they had got clearance to land from Air Traffic Control (ATC).
“The three aircrafts were specifically cleared by Bombay ATC on this frequency to land on the runway 27. They were not aware of this Air India aircraft because the Air India aircraft was on the tower frequency. So there was no contact between the two aeroplanes. So when they were cleared, they came and landed. That’’s it,” said Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. An Air India plane with about 150 passengers on board avoided a collision with an army helicopter that was part of the president’’s entourage in Mumbai on Monday.
The helicopter, one of three on duty for President Pratibha Patil during her visit to Mumbai, was on the same runway as the passenger flight, forcing the aircraft’’s pilot to abort take-off.
President Patil was not in the helicopter at the time.
Mumbai’’s airport handles an average of over 300 flights daily at its domestic terminal. It has a shortage of ATC staff.
Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major also denied that any Indian Air Force (IAF) was involved in another near collision in Jorhat.
“The aircraft, which they are saying, is an IAF aircraft, is not an IAF aircraft. We don”t know what aircraft that is. It is not our aircraft that’’s it. It must me some other aircraft,” said Homi.
Media reports had said an IAF aircraft and a flight of the national carrier Air India had come to kissing distance near Jorhat on Tuesday. (ANI)

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