Two IndiGo planes departing from Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in India narrowly avoided potential collisions with an unidentified drone.
The consecutive incidents, both on September 26, 2023, have prompted urgent calls for a thorough review of drone regulations and airport security measures.
The first IndiGo flight took off from KIA in the afternoon. Soon after, the flight crew noticed a mid-sized drone in close proximity to their path. The pilots immediately notified Air Traffic Control (ATC). Another IndiGo flight reported a similar near-miss with the drone within a short period of time.
“A probe is underway by the Air Operations Control Centre into the presence of the drone. CCTV footage is being examined to find out what type of device it was, from which direction it was flown and if it had come extremely close to the planes,” a source told the Times of India.
Additionally, the airport security organization, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), is working with the airport police to locate the drone operator, according to the reports.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has established stringent guidelines, which came into effect on December 1, 2018, marking areas such as airports as ‘No Fly Zones’ for drones in the country.
Flying a drone in strategic and sensitive locations, including near airports, defense airports, border areas, military facilities, and areas earmarked as strategic locations by the Ministry of Home Affairs can result in penalties, including a fine of up to INR 1,00,000 (over $1200).