Delhi: A day after the crash of an Air India Express plane at Kozhikode's tabletop runway during landing has brought the focus on some of India's other airports which are more risk-prone when compared to others and internationally prescribed parameters of landing and runway safety technologies. The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people on board overshot the runway at the Kozhikode airport in Kerala at 7.40 pm on Friday in rainy conditions and went down 35 feet into a slope before breaking up into two, killing at least 18 people.
Meanwhile, India's Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has promised that report of the enquiry that has been ordered under the Aircraft Act in case of the Kozhikode accident and findings of the investigation will be made public. The Kozhikode crash has put the focus on some other Indian airports.
RISK-PRONE AIRPORTS IN FOCUS
Patna Airport: Runway length shorter than prescribed. Bird hits are also common at Patna's Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport. As per the Federal Aviation Administration, the US, the adequate runway length required for a safe landing of Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s is 2,300 metres.
Patna airport's runway length is of just 2,072 metres — of which 1,938 metres is for landing from the East and 1,677 metres for landing from the West.
Jammu Airport: Runway length shorter than prescribed. Has had incidents of overshooting the runway in the past.
Shimla Airport: Runway length the biggest issue. Located at Jubbarhatti -- Shimla Airport is 2,196 metres above the sea level -- and is one of country's 'riskiest' tabletop airport. Experts believe its length is 300 metres short of the required length.
At present, the runway at Shimla airport is less than 1,200-metre long and its expansion is facing abnormal delays owing to the nearby forest area and private land. For the runway extension, the minimum required length is 1,500 metres which enables a 40-seater aircraft to operate as per the new safety norms, a state civil aviation official, requesting anonymity, told IANS.
Mangalore Airport: Tabletop runway. In 2010, Air India plane had overshot the runway and fell into the gorge killing 158 people. The Court of Inquiry had said the cause of the accident was the captain’s failure to discontinue the “unstabilised approach” and his persistence in continuing with the landing, despite three calls from the first officer to “go around” and several warnings from Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS).
Calicut (Kozhikode) Airport: Tabletop runway. The tragic Air India crash has brought the focus on Runway 10 and safety standards. "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 murder," aviation safety expert Captain Ranganathan told PTI. Captain Ranganathan had flagged concerns about Kozhikode airport runway, on Saturday said regulator DGCA should not allow the landing of flights during monsoons on runway 10 at the aerodrome.
Kullu Airport: Short runway located in a deep valley. Poses a challenge considering its location.
Aizawl Airport: The Aizawl airport, which is also known as Lengpui airport is a domestic airport located at a distance of 32 km from Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. Tabletop runway is, however, safe for landing as Airbus A320 or mid cargo aircraft. J.Lalhmingliana, the Principal Consultant in the Civil Aviation wing of the General Administration Department, told PTI that the runway having 2,500 metres length and whose breadth is 45 metres, has enough space and is strong enough for a safe landing.
Leh Airport: Flightpath between mountains makes the flight to Leh one of the most breathtaking in the world. Nestled in the Himalayas, Leh Airport in Ladakh is one of the most strategically significant for India. The airport, at a height of 3,256 m above sea level, is one of the highest in the world. But the location also means a certain extra risk involved in landing.
These are few airports whose location or runway length is often debate as risk-prone. World over, some airports are considered dangerous or risky due to their geographical locations. Some also term it as among the most beautiful airports. Agatti Aerodrome (AGX), Lakshadweep, India, Lukla Airport (LUA), Nepal, Courchevel Airport (CVF), France, Kansai International Airport (KIX), Japan, Gibraltar International Airport (GIB), Gibraltar, Svalbard Airport (LYR), Norway are among airports that are breathtaking and risk-prone.
(Inputs from PTI, IANS and Sunday Standard and others)