The crash of the Air India Express flight from Dubai, which overshot the runway at the Bajpe airport in Mangalore and caught fire, claiming 158 lives, should awaken the authorities to the vulnerability of the airport. Caution was thrown to the winds and the aircraft became a flying coffin.
El Dorado Hills
As pointed out by Captain A. Ranganathan (May 23), the Mangalore accident was indeed the result of complacency in the system. But, then, are we going to learn any lesson from the tragedy? Or will it be the same scenario — expressing shock, offering condolences to the victims' families, and finding a few scapegoats after a routine enquiry by those who are ultimately answerable for the tragedy?
Instead of pointing fingers at pilots, the weather and birds, the authorities should introspect and take corrective steps to prevent such accidents in future.
Comdt. G.V. Mathew (retd.),
The demand by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association that the government appoint a high-level committee to investigate the lapses in safety, fatigue prevention and training of pilots in Air India deserves due consideration. In the absence of any technical snag, the most probable reason for an accident is pilot fatigue. The pilots flying the Air India Express were experienced, the weather was fine at the time of landing and the airport, though a tabletop, was equipped with all navigational and instrument landing systems with a runway sufficient for a Boeing to land. The tragedy is a wake-up call to the Aviation Ministry.
Incidents such as landing on rooftops, overshooting runways, collision on runways, near-misses midair, losing height suddenly due to turbulence, broken windowpanes, jammed toilets in aircraft, etc., were unheard of during the days of J.R.D. Tata. Air travel these days is similar to travelling by state transport buses. Pilots fly continuously without adequate rest to meet commercial deadlines.
Aircraft are poorly maintained and serviced. Gone are the days when people looked forward to a maharajah-style service on board. Today, a passenger should consider himself lucky if he reaches the destination safely.
The Mangalore airport runway is one of the most dangerous runways in terms of length. That it never had the required safety margin to meet emergencies of such a magnitude is shocking. It is common people like us who end up paying for the miscalculations of the authorities.
Arjun R. Shankar,
What was more tragic than the plane crash was the attitude of television news channels. In the game of one-upmanship, every channel seemed to have barged into the trauma care units to “interview” the survivors. News channels started airing statements of victims and described them as breaking news! Another clip showed yet another survivor making statements while a doctor examined him. Is personal space shrinking fast?