After Mangalore, close shave at Mumbai as planes almost collide

Two domestic passenger airliners came close to colliding at Mumbai airport after almost getting onto the same runway, officials said yesterday, days after an aircraft crashed in Mangalore killing 158 people on Sunday ( See: Mangalore disaster: pilot of crashed plane was no greenhorn).

A Jet Airways flight was about to land on a designated runway on Wednesday night when another aircraft rolled in on the runway mistaking it for a taxiway. Mumbai airport authorities said in a statement that the Jet Airways flight was then asked to go around. The second aircraft belonged to IndiGo airlines.

"It could have been a big disaster if the Jet Airways plane had landed," a senior civil aviation security official said. "A probe has been ordered into the incident."

Both flights put together had around 230 passengers.

IndiGo head Aditya Ghosh told Reuters that lights on the taxiway were not functioning and visibility was poor. "The aircraft just stopped short of the runway," Ghosh added.

A spokesperson of Mumbai International Airport Limited said, ''Around 9.04 pm Jet Airways flight 9W 616, while on approach to landing, was asked to go around. This was to allow IndiGo flight 6E 415 to cross the main runway at the runway intersection point. The IndiGo aircraft entered the runway instead of turning into the taxiway N as per the designated taxi instruction from the Air Traffic Control.''