New Delhi: Nearly 70 incidents of near-misses were reported in the country in the past three years, the government told Lok Sabha on Thursday and said that the reasons behind the October 23 plane crash at Mangalore airport were being examined.
The Civil Aviation Ministry, in a written reply to questions, said that nearly 70 incidents of air proximity (near misses) were reported in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
To a related query, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel cited an example and said a ground incident occurred on October 23 at Mumbai airport involving Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 aircraft VT-JBR and Kingfisher Aircraft A321 VT-KFU.
The Kingfisher aircraft suffered damage to its left horizontal stabiliser. The left winglet of the Jet Airways aircraft was also damaged during the incident. No passenger was injured, the minister said.
Regarding the Mangalore air crash in May this year that claimed 158 lives, the ministry said that the government was examining the reasons behind the incident.
On the financial health of the National Aviation Company of India Ltd, Patel admitted that the NACIL and other airlines were running in losses but added that the government had infused Rs 800 crore as equity and also inducted five part-time, non-official independent directors on the Board of Air India for professional functioning of the airline.
Emphasising that the aviation sector had grown in the past five years, Patel also told the House in reply to a question that the domestic passenger traffic in 2009 increased to 43.8 million from 18.2 million in 2004.
On the profit making airports in the country, the minister said the Chennai airport in Tamil Nadu was the most profitable with Rs 39,918 lakh as its profit before tax, followed by Kolkata airport that made Rs 9,314 lakh as profit before tax in the financial year 2008-09.
Patel said to another poser that air connectivity between India and Iraq is expected to improve since discussions were held during bilateral talks between the two countries in October this year on notifications to the Air Service Agreement.