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Another air disaster averted in Mumbai

Mumbai, June 4 (IANS) An air disaster was averted at the airport here early Friday when a flight was cleared for landing while another plane was waiting to take off on the same runway, airport sources said.

A Chennai-bound Spicejet flight with 201 passengers was cleared for take-off just after 1.30 a.m. But the pilot detected a snag and informed the air traffic control (ATC), which asked him to wait until help arrived.

By then, however, the ATC had cleared for landing a Kingfisher Airlines flight from New Delhi. The Kingfisher flight too had about 200 passengers on board, an airport official said.

Realizing that the Spicejet was still on the runway, the ATC frantically directed the Kingfisher to do a go-around over the airport. The commander complied — and the disaster was averted.

The flight was finally given fresh permission to land after the Spicejet aircraft was cleared from runway.

It was the third close shave involving Indian planes in the last 10 days.

On the night of May 26, an aircraft of Jet Airways and IndiGo had a narrow miss at the airport here, as one plane was about to land while another was still on the runway.

The same day, a Dubai-Pune Air India flight suddenly lost considerable height over the skies of Muscat, endangering another plane flying below.

On May 22, an Air India Express aircraft coming from Dubai overshot the runway at the Mangalore airport and fell off a cliff killing 158 people.

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