Delhi: The Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft which was returning from Dubai fell into a gorge at Kozhikode airport and was split into two taking lives of both the pilots and 17 others in the plane. An investigation is going on to know the cause of the accident. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also visited the mishap site and said that pilot was very experienced and had landed on the same runway at least 20 times according to records.Questions are based on the tabletop runway as experts have suggested that such runways are dangerous during monsoons and can lead to such tragic accidents like the Air India Plane crash on Friday. Recent reports have emerged that aviation safety expert Captain Ranganathan, who had earlier flagged concerns about the Kozhikode airport runway, said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) should not allow the landing of flights during monsoons on runway 10 at the aerodrome.
"Death due to an accident is something which happens when you don't know but when you knew the danger existed and you were warned about it and you took no action and an accident takes place, then it is definitely murder," he said.
In 2011, Ranganathan had warned that flights landing on runway 10 in tailwind conditions in rain at the Kozhikode airport endanger the lives of people onboard those flights.
On Saturday, he said the (DGCA) should enforce the correct runway code for Kozhikode airport.
"No aircraft larger than a 737 or a 320 should be permitted to land there. They should not permit any landing during monsoons on runway 10. The DGCA should enforce that all airlines should comply and do their monsoon training before the monsoons what is called ALAR training they have to do it without failure," he said.
ALAR is Approach and Landing Accident Reduction.
In June 2011, Ranganathan flagged concerns about the runway in a communication to then Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi in June 2011. Ranganathan was then a member of the operations group of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Committee (CASAC).
"... in spite of the danger if the crew accept a landing in wet and tailwind conditions, their concept of ALAR is very poor," he had said in the communication.
It 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.
Ranganathan never got a reply or feedback on his report.Mangalore incident
Comparisons are being made between Friday’s incident and the 2010 Boeing 737 Air India Express crash in Mangalore. The incoming flight to Mangalore had overshot the runway while landing and the pilots tried to save the aircraft by attempting to take-off again before running out of tarmac. Unfortunately, the aircraft plunged into a valley below and exploded after the fuel caught fire.
Fortunately, unlike in the case of the Mangalore, the turbine fuel did not catch fire in Friday’s tragic incident.
"In Mangalore, pilots had landed the aircraft in the middle of the runway. Then they quickly tried to take-off again, thereby using thrust and power. However, their attempt failed and at the peak power, the aircraft hit antennas at the end of the runway and dived into the valley," said a senior commander in an IANS report.