The incident reportedly took place on February 7 in the Mumbai airspace after 8 pm when Air India’s Airbus A-319 was flying from Mumbai to Bhopal as AI 631 and Vistara’s A-320 Neo was flying from Delhi to Pune as UK 997.
While the AI flight was at a level of 27,000 feet, the Vistara plane, with 152 passengers, had been assigned the flight level of 29,000 feet.
However, at 8 pm, the Vistara came down to 27,100 feet, after which the planes sped towards each other with a vertical separation of only 100 feet, the Times of India reported. Following this, the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) alarms went off in the respective cockpits, and the pilots managed to avoid the mid-air crash.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has grounded two VIstara pilots over the incident. However, Vistara maintained that its pilots were told to drop the altitude to 27,000 and they “did not do so inadvertently.”
However, UK 997 came down to 27,100 feet – after which the two planes were flying towards each other with a vertical separation of just 100 feet. At that moment, the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) alarms went off in the cockpits of both the planes, and the pilots managed to avoid a midair collision. “At one point, AI 631 and UK 997 were 100 feet apart vertically and 2.8km laterally apart. They were just seconds away from each other. This is the most serious airport (accident) or near-miss in recent times,” said a source.