Airport listed as risky to flight operations
Kozhikode air crash, an eye-opener
-:M Rafi Ahmed:-
With the nation mourning the death of 18 passengers in an Air India Express flight crash at Kozhikode International Airport, this tragedy should be an eye-opener to the powers-that-be to pull up their socks to ensure safety of passengers thereby revamping the tabletop runway since it’s considered to be risky for flight operations.It may be noted that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had listed Kozhikode as one of the 11 airports that posed a safety risk to flight operations in the country after the Air India Express Flight IX812 from Dubai mishap at the Mangalore airport killing 158 passengers and cabin crew and the plane overshot the runway and crashed into a forested ravine. Besides Kozhikode, airports in Leh, Kullu, Shimla, Port Blair, Agartala, Lengpui, Mangalore, Jammu, Patna and Latur were also found in the list of risks for flight operations. And air crashes have happened before and during the monsoon season which usually is between June and September. Sadly, it wreaks havoc across south Asia every year.Soon after Mangalore air crash, NRI businessman M A Yusuff Ali in the Gulf, who was a board member of Air India is reported to have said that the faulty infrastructure facilities in airports and international airports needs to be rectified. Even in July 2019, there was mishap at Kozhikode airport wherein Air India Express flight’s tail touched the tabletop runway while landing. However, there wasn’t any damage to the aircraft and passengers escaped unhurt.Significantly, there are three tabletop airports in India from where scheduled flights operate. Kozhikode International Airport in Malappuram, Kerala, Mangalore International Airport in Karnataka and Lengpui Airport in Mizoram. And a tabletop runway is a runway that is located on the top of a plateau or hill with one or both ends adjacent to a steep precipice which drops into a deep gorge. This type of runway creates an optical illusion which requires a very precise approach by the pilot.