Hundreds of lives were saved after a major collision between two India-bound Emirates planes was averted during take-off at Dubai airport on Sunday.
The Emirates flight EK-524 Dubai to Hyderabad was scheduled to depart at 9:45 PM, as was the Emirates flight EK-568 Dubai to Bengaluru. Unfortunately, the two scheduled take-off aircraft showed up on the same runway.
There was a five-minute gap between the departure times of both flights, according to the Emirates flight schedule.
"EK-524 from Dubai-Hyderabad was accelerating for takeoff from runway 30R when the crew noticed a high-speed aircraft approaching in the same direction. ATC immediately instructed the take-off to be cancelled. The plane slowed down safely and cleared the runway via taxiway N4, which crossed it. Another Emirates flight, EK-568 from Dubai to Bangalore, was preparing to take off from the same runway 30R," said sources.
Following the ATC intervention, the Bengaluru-bound Emirates flight took off and the Hyderabad-bound Emirates flight, which returned to the taxi bay took off a few minutes later.
The UAE's aviation investigation body, the Air Accident Investigation Sector (AAIC), has launched an investigation. The airlines were alerted of a serious safety lapse.
"On 9 January, flight EK524 was instructed by air traffic control to reject take-off on departure from Dubai and this was completed successfully. There was no damage to the aircraft," said an Emirates Air spokesperson.
An internal investigation has also been launched against the aircraft's crew.
"Our top priority is always the safety and as with any incident, we are conducting our own internal investigation. The UAE AAIS is also looking into the matter," the spokesperson added.
According to preliminary reports, the Hyderabad-bound EK-524 was preparing to take off without ATC clearance.
When the incident was reported, Emirates had already dispatched its Boeing-B777 aircraft to the aforementioned destinations.