A near-miss between an IndiGo aircraft and a SpiceJet plane at Delhi airport last year was due to a lapse on part of the Air Traffic Controller (ATC), Union minister Jayant Sinha said in Parliament today. Last year, on December 27, the two planes came face to face barely 40 metres away on the taxiway at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. "Due to incomplete instructions by air traffic controllers, two private scheduled airlines' aircraft came face to face while taxiing to the parking bay at Delhi airport," Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said in the Rajya Sabha in response to a question. He added, "Corrective action has been taken in case of involved air traffic controllers". While the IndiGo plane arriving from Lucknow had over 176 passengers on board, the Hyderabad-bound SpiceJet aircraft was carrying 187 passengers when the incident took place, he said. According to sources, the SpiceJet plane was awaiting ATC clearance for take off for over 90 minutes.
Later, the commander requested the ATC to allow the aircraft to leave the holding area for refuelling as a good amount of fuel had been used up by that time. As the aircraft was coming back from the holding area to the taxiway, it found the IndiGo plane in the same taxiway, barely 40 metres away. Sinha also said that poor visibility was "one of the contributing factors". In a separate statement, the minister, however, also said there were no instances of risk of collision in the past three years.
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