INDIATOP NEWS

DGCA to audit Kozhikode plane crash airports that witness heavy rains

New Delhi

The country’s aviation regulator DGCA will conduct a special audit of airports that receive heavy rains, senior officials said on Tuesday, four days after a plane crashed at the Kozhikode airport amid downpour.

“The special audit will be done at airports like Mumbai and Chennai that are affected by heavy rains annually,” said a senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) manages more than 100 airports in the country, including the one in Kozhikode.

However, major airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are managed by private companies.

The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people, including a six-member crew, overshot the tabletop runway during landing at the Kozhikode airport in heavy rains on Friday night.

It fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into pieces, killing 18 people, including both the pilots.

The airline on Tuesday said 74 passengers injured in the plane crash in Kozhikode have been discharged from hospitals after “obtaining complete fitness”.

A day after the crash, Congress MP Manickam Tagore had tweeted that the AAI and the DGCA “seem to have ignored” the proposal for using Engineered Material Arrestor System (EMAS) technology to ensure the safety of Kozhikode airport’s tabletop runway.

The AAI works under the Civil Aviation Ministry.

The EMAS is a unique surface of special materials that is built at the end of the runway to stop the aircraft in its tracks if it has overshot the area while landing.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday that the Kozhikode airport is equipped with Runway End Safety Area (RESA) as per the safety guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He said the provision of EMAS is not mandatory in a civil airport as per the ICAO guidelines.

Puri said EMAS provides safety benefits if standard RESA length is not available at the airport or if RESA cannot be provided at the airport due to some constraints.

“Provision of EMAS at Mangalore and Kozhikode were examined by AAI in consultation with DGCA, subsequent to the Air India Express accident at Mangalore in 2010.

Tabletop runways at both these airports are accordingly provided with RESA of 240 metres and 90 metres in compliance to DGCA directive,” Puri said.

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