Ministry urged to expedite steps to resume big aircraft operation at Calicut airport

The Advisory Committee of Calicut International Airport has urged the Ministry of Civil Aviation to expedite steps to resume the operation of wide-bodied aircraft, which is still remaining suspended after the Air India Express flight crash at the airport on August 7, 2020.

Committee chairman M.P. Abdussamad Samadani, MP, said that the accident had nothing to do with the infrastructure facilities at the airport.

However, he said the delay in approving the resumption wide-bodied aircraft service caused severe hardship to passengers, especially the Non-Resident Indians bound for the Gulf sector. The expatriates had immensely contributed to the development of the airport, Mr. Samadani, who represented the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency, said.

The aircraft involved in the accident was classified under Code C (medium or short range). The accident killed 21 people including both pilots.

Sources attached to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that recommendations of a committee constituted to analyse the report of Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), which probed the Air India Express crash, was crucial in deciding the resumption of the operation of wide-bodied aircraft. Last month, a team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had also inspected the airport.

Runway length

Meanwhile, Mr. Samadani said that a reported suggestion on reconstructing the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) after reducing the length of the tabletop runway would be harmful for the development of the airport. If the RESA was increased by 240 metres on both sides, the runway length would be reduced to 2,540m.Now, the existing runway length of the airport is 2,700 m. This was actually shortened from its earlier length of 2,850 m for increasing the RESA four years ago. Then it was said that wide- bodied aircraft would be allowed to operate if the RESA was increased.

The meeting has tasked Airport Director R. Mahalingam, who is the convener of the committee, to call a meeting of AAI officials and representatives of airline companies for starting domestic services to various sectors. To meet demand, more direct flights were required to Mumbai and Delhi as well as a daily flight to Thiruvananthapuram, Mr. Samadani said. He said that the advisory committee was awaiting the response of the State government on the meeting it had with stakeholders on the expansion of the Calicut airport.

M.K. Raghavan, MP , who is the co-chairman of the committee, E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, and others took part in the meeting held online.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 9:49:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/ministry-urged-to-expedite-steps-to-resume-big-aircraft-operation-at-calicut-airport/article38320849.ece