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On June 8, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport witnessed a near-miss incident involving Air India flight AI657 and IndiGo flight 6E5053. This incident highlights a critical lapse in air traffic control coordination, leading to a dangerous reduction in the separation between the two aircraft. The incident occurred when AI657 was cleared for departure from Runway 27 at the same time 6E5053 was cleared to land on the same runway.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data provided granular details about the proximity of the two aircraft. According to Flightradar24, the closest point of approach was just 1,671 feet—a dangerously low margin for aircraft safety. This analysis is based on detailed ADS-B data that offers a high-resolution account of the positions and movements of both flights.

Timeline of Events

  • 00:45:05 UTC: Air India flight AI657 commenced its take-off roll on Runway 27. At this moment, the IndiGo flight 6E5053 was approximately 5,700 feet away, on its final approach to land on the same runway.
  • 00:45:27 UTC: IndiGo’s A320neo entered the runway area while AI657 was accelerating and had reached a ground speed of 90 knots.
  • 00:45:39 UTC: As AI657 began its rotation for take-off, the distance between the two aircraft had reduced to 1,679 feet. At this critical juncture, the IndiGo flight was seconds away from touchdown.
  • 00:45:42 UTC: IndiGo flight 6E5053 made contact with the runway surface, while AI657 continued its ascent.

The events at Mumbai highlight a significant lapse in ensuring adequate separation between departing and arriving aircraft. Standard operating procedures require a safe margin to avoid potential collisions, which was clearly not maintained in this case. The typical minimum separation distances are well-defined to prevent such occurrences, and the breach of these standards poses severe risks.

Indian aviation authorities have launched a thorough investigation into the incident. This will likely involve scrutinizing air traffic control procedures, communication logs, and flight crew actions to identify any procedural failures or human errors. Such investigations are crucial for understanding how this breach occurred and for implementing measures to prevent future occurrences.