​Kolkata ATC lost link with 85 aircrafts for 10 minutes and we skipped a heartbeat

​Kolkata ATC lost link with 85 aircrafts for 10 minutes and we skipped a heartbeatDue to a communication breakdown, the Kolkata's Air Traffic Control (ATC) lost contact with 85 airborne aircrafts for 10 minutes, risking lives of thousands of passengers.

Thirty five controllers scrambled for mobile phones as radars and vital VHF radio link failure continued for 1 hour 40 minutes. The screens that display positions of aircraft in Kolkata air traffic region went blank.

"What happened is a controller's nightmare. Even landlines were not working. But, we managed to contact Nagpur and Varanasi ATC to relay information to pilots," a controller said.

The controllers then switched to the emergency protocol and turned to the very high-frequency communication sets to contact airborne pilots.

There were around 85 planes in the ATR and controllers had no control over 30.


Moreover, they also lost contact with their counterparts in Dhaka and Myanmar.

The incident started at 7.35 am and the BSNL-maintained link was restored at 9.15am.

The incident will be probed by Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India.