New Delhi: Over a month after the tragic Air India Express plane crash in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the aviation ministry along with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on a plea seeking to install a fail-safe mechanism to prevent aircraft from overshooting tabletop runways at airports like Mangaluru and Kozhikode. Also Read - Maggots Found in Bedsores of Man Post Discharge from Kerala Hospital; Minister Orders Probe
The plea sought that the aviation ministry installs Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) that will help stop airplanes from overshooting runways as did in case of the Dubai-Kozhikode flight. Also Read - International Flights: Dubai Asks Air India Express to Reject COVID-negative Reports of Passengers From 4 Indian Labs
Union Civil Aviation Minister told the top court Captain S S Chahar is heading the probe into the Kozhikode plane crash and will submit a report on the investigation to Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) “preferably within five months from the date of order”. Also Read - International Flights: Saudi Arabia Permits Outbound Passenger Flights to India Under Vande Bharat Mission
Notably, the Kozhikode International Airport, that suffered one of India’s worst aviation disasters last month, had been issued a show-cause notice by the DGCA in July 2019 after an audit revealed ‘significant’ safety concerns.
The Air India Express plane crash with 191 people on board took place amid heavy rains as the pilots failed to land the aircraft properly. The aircraft skidded off the airport’s tabletop runway and plunged 35 feet into a gorge, splitting into two and resulting in the deaths of 21 people who were on board, including the two pilots.
The DGCA’s initial probe had also found cracks and stagnating water on the runway, with the regulator giving the Airports Authority of India (AAI) 15 days to respond to it.
The Dubai-Kozhikode flight was operating under the Centre’s ‘Vande Bharat’ mission, which was launched in May to repatriate Indian citizens stuck abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.