An alert air traffic control (ATC) system averted a collision at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, officials said on Tuesday.
According to a civil aviation ministry official, a small aircraft had entered the active runway zone by mistake around 7.00 pm on Monday.
An accident could have happened as there was a passenger jet coming from Chennai, and another aircraft preparing to take-off from the same runway, but with a time-gap separating both.
Noticing the small aircraft's movement, the ATC alerted the pilot to move out of the runway. The pilot of the aircraft had mistaken the go-ahead signal meant for another aircraft as its own.
"There was confusion on the part of the pilot which led to his error in entering the active runway. The ATC advised the incoming flight not to land at the runway," the official told IANS here.
The incoming Chennai flight belonging to Jet Airways, then had to carry out an exercise known as 'go around' in the aviation parlance, which technically means an averted landing and a subsequent turnaround to try landing again.
Subsequently, another Jet Airway's aircraft which was preparing to take-off was told to hold its position.
"While the Chennai flight was carrying out the 'go around', the ATC asked the pilot of the unscheduled operator to move out of the runway," the official said.
The aviation regulator is said to be looking into the matter.
"Due cognisance has been taken. But it was a minor incident and the ATC did its job," Arun Mishra, director general, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), told IANS.