Case Study: Mumbai Airport Incident – ATC Oversight and Safety Protocols


On June 8th, 2024, a significant incident occurred at Mumbai Airport involving an IndiGo flight and an Air India aircraft sharing the same runway within a minute’s time. This event, captured on video and widely circulated on social media, raised concerns about air traffic control (ATC) oversight and safety protocols at the airport.

Key Players Involved

  1. DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation): As India’s aviation watchdog, DGCA plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and adherence to regulations in the aviation sector. Following the incident, DGCA took swift action by derostering the ATC responsible for the incident and initiating a probe into the matter.
  2. IndiGo Airlines: The IndiGo flight involved was identified as flight 6E 6053 from Indore. The airline stated that their aircraft followed ATC instructions during the landing process.
  3. Air India: The Air India aircraft, flight AI657 from Mumbai to Trivandrum, was on take-off roll during the incident. Air India, being the Tata-owned airline, also launched its own investigation into the incident.

Sequence of Events

  1. ATC Clearance: The ATC, responsible for managing the flow of air traffic at Mumbai Airport, cleared both the IndiGo flight for landing and the Air India flight for take-off on the same runway.
  2. Incident Video: A video capturing the moment when one aircraft was landing while another was taking off from the same runway surfaced on social media, drawing attention to the potential safety risks.
  3. Response and Investigations: DGCA responded by immediately derostering the ATC involved and launching an investigation into the incident. Both IndiGo and Air India also initiated their probes to understand the circumstances better.

Analysis and Observations

  1. ATC Protocol: Standard operating procedures allow ATCs to clear up to two arrivals and departures within a three-minute window, subject to visibility conditions and other factors. However, the incident raised questions about whether all protocols were followed diligently.
  2. Visibility and Safety: The incident occurred under good visibility conditions, reducing the separation distance required between aircraft. Despite this, the proximity of a landing and taking-off aircraft on the same runway raised safety concerns.
  3. Operational Pressures: High-density traffic at airports like Mumbai puts significant pressure on ATCs to manage arrivals and departures efficiently while ensuring safety. The investigation will likely delve into whether operational pressures contributed to any lapses in protocol adherence.

Lessons Learned

  1. Enhanced Oversight: The incident underscores the need for continuous oversight and monitoring of ATC operations to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
  2. Training and Awareness: Training programs for ATCs and airline personnel should emphasize strict adherence to safety protocols, especially during high-traffic periods.
  3. Technology and Automation: Implementing advanced technologies and automation in ATC systems can enhance efficiency and reduce the margin for error in managing air traffic.


The Mumbai Airport incident serves as a reminder of the critical role of ATC oversight and adherence to safety protocols in ensuring aviation safety. By addressing the findings of the investigations and implementing corrective measures, stakeholders can mitigate risks and enhance the overall safety of air travel.

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