Vigilant Vistara pilot prevents collision at Delhi Airport, rescues 322 lives


An alert Vistara pilot-in-command prevented a possible collision on Wednesday morning at Delhi Airport involving two aircraft, one of which she had just landed and another preparing for takeoff, both carrying a total of 322 passengers. Captain Sonu Gill had landed flight UK 926 from Ahmedabad on runway 29L, and air traffic control (ATC) had given her a “continuous taxi” to terminal 3 by crossing the parallel active runway 29R. However, ATC at the same time cleared a Vistara flight (UK 726) to take off for Bagdogra from Runway 29R.
Captain Gill became aware of the ATC message permitting UK 726 to take off from runway 29R. At that moment, she was positioned at the holding point of 29R and chose to halt there, even though she had received permission to taxi continuously. Recognising the potential danger, she promptly notified ATC of their mistake. In response, ATC immediately instructed the pilots of the Bagdogra-bound Vistara flight to cancel their takeoff. Thanks to the vigilance of Captain Gill, the two Vistara Airbus A320s were kept at a secure distance—one positioned on the runway and her aircraft stationed at the holding point. “The Air Traffic Controller has been off-rostered,” DGCA said.
“On August 23, Vistara A320 aircraft VT-TNC, while operating flight VTI926 (Ahmedabad-Delhi), was involved in a runway incursion at Delhi airport. VTI926 landed on runway 29L and was instructed by the tower controller to cross runway 29R,” the regulator said.
Momentarily, the tower controller forgot this crossing and issued take-off clearance to another Vistara flight, VTI725 (Delhi-Bagdogra), from R/W 29R. On realisation of the error based on input from VTI926, the tower controller instructed VTI725 to cancel take-off,” it added.