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Aviation Safety Expert Had Warned In 2011 That The Kozhikode’s Tabletop Runway Is Too Risky For Landing

Kerala - Hours after the Air India Express plane crash on Friday night, it has come to light that an aviation safety expert had warned in 2011 that the Kozhikode’s tabletop runway is too risky for landing.

In his report, Captain Mohan Ranganathan had flagged concerns about the runway in a communication to then Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi in June 2011.

“Flights landing on runway 10 in tailwind conditions in rain at the Kozhikode airport endanger the lives of people onboard those flights,” he had mentioned in his letter to the Civil Aviation Secretary. Ranganathan was then a member of the operations group of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Committee (CASAC).

The communication assumes significance against the backdrop of the Air India Express plane crash at the airport on Friday that killed at least 18 people, including two pilots.

The Boeing 737-800 plane, coming from Dubai, had overshot the runway while landing in heavy rains and broke into two pieces.

"In spite of the danger if the crew accept a landing in wet and tailwind conditions, their concept of ALAR (Approach and Landing Accident Reduction) is very poor," he had said in the communication.

The communication had come against the backdrop of an Air India Express aircraft crash at Mangalore airport in 2010. As many as 158 people had died in the crash.

"All the flights that land on Runway 10 in the tailwind conditions in rain are endangering the lives of all on board," Ranganathan had said.

With tailwind conditions, the descent of an aircraft at the time of landing might be affected. Regarding the Kozhikode airport accident, Ranganathan told a news channel that the runway has a steep downslope and no safety area.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder of the ill-fated aircraft was recovered from the site of the crash, a top Directorate General of Civil Aviation official said. Both "black boxes" have been found, the official said. This information will help the investigation team to find out how the plane crashed, the DGCA official said.

Kozhikode airport in Kerala comes under the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The airport has a tabletop runway.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Arvind Singh on Saturday (August 8, 2020) said that "corrective action" will be taken after receiving the probe report on the Air India Express plane crash at Kozhikode airport on Friday night.

Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is probing the accident at the Kozhikode airport that has left at least 18 people dead, including the two pilots of the plane. The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) have been recovered at the crash site.

The Kerala government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday announced Rs 10 lakh compensation for the families of those who died after an ill-fated Air India Express flight veered off the runway while attempting to land at the Karipur international airport and broke into two parts on Friday night.

The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded from Dubai due to the COVID-19 pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday.

The Boeing 737 aircraft overshot the tabletop runway at the airport here while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two portions, killing at least 18 people.

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