On January 7, 2022, two IndiGo planes miraculously avoided colliding after being cleared to take off simultaneously in the same direction, prompting the DGCA to launch an investigation into the incident. As a result, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on May 30 suspended the licence of an Air Traffic Control officer who was involved in a 'breach of separation' at Bengaluru airport for three months.
According to a senior DGCA official, the two IndiGo planes 6E 455 (Bengaluru to Kolkata) and 6E 246 (Bengaluru to Bhubaneswar) took off simultaneously from the north and south runways at Bengaluru airport, resulting in a violation of separation.
"At the same time, the south tower controller gave departure to 6E 455 in coordination with Approach Radar controller, and the north tower controller gave departure to 6E 246 without prior coordination with the south tower controller and Approach Radar controller, as both aircraft after departure were on converging headings, i.e. moving towards each other," read the DGCA statement.
The approach radar controller also gave a diverging course to separate these aircraft, according to the report. The vertical and lateral gap between both aircraft at the closest point of confrontation was 100 feet (Standard 1000ft) and 0.9 nautical miles (NM) (Standard 3NM).
The incident has been classed as a major incident, and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board is investigating it (AAIB). It goes on to say that DGCA took enforcement actions based on the findings of the regulatory assessment, including sending a warning letter to the tower supervisor for failing to monitor ATC Tower activities and failing to report the incident, as well as suspending the ATCO licence of the North tower controller, who was also the shift's WSO, for three months.