Documents in possession with MiD DAY prove beyond doubt that the Mumbai Air Traffic Control (ATC), which is responsible for air operations in Mumbai, violated one of its guidelines on the very day that it came into effect.
On March 22 this year, the General Manager’s (GM) office of ATC Mumbai issued a circular saying that controllers were to ensure that a minimum distance measure of 6 nautical miles (NM) is maintained between the arrival and departure of two aircraft scheduled close to each other on the runway (copy available with MiD DAY).
“Accommodating departures shall not be attempted by the tower controller if the inter-arrival spacing is less than 6 NM,” the circular reads. It was also instructed that controllers should inform the arriving aircraft in advance in case there were pending departures on the runway.
The tower controller however ignored the above guidelines and gave the go-ahead to the arriving Nagpur-Mumbai Jet Lite flight 176, even though it was less than 5 NM away from the Jet Airways Mumbai-Udaipur flight 2073, which was ready for departure. In fact, the arrival was just two miles away when take-off clearance was given to 2073, only to be aborted, and the arrival was asked to go around.
MiD DAY had reported on June 28 how important information related to this flight was erased by the ATC even before the investigation was completed (Did ATC destroy evidence of near-misses at airport?). DGCA chief E K Bharatbhushan could not be reached for an official comment.