Air India plane crash | Hardeep Singh Puri questions Congress MPs’ tweets, says Kozhikode runway equipped with RESA as per ICAO guidelines

Hardeep Singh Puri, Civil Aviation Minister. File

Hardeep Singh Puri, Civil Aviation Minister. File   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

In an attempt to address questions on why an "arrestor" was not installed at Calicut airport to retard the speed of aircraft, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri said that such a recommendation was looked into but other corrective measures were taken instead.

2011 report flagged unsafe conditions at Calicut airport

"Kozhikode airport is equipped with RESA as per ICAO guidelines. Engineered Material Arrestor System (EMAS) provides safety benefit if less than standard RESA (runway end safety area) length is available or at airports where RESA cannot be provided due to constraints," Mr. Puri wrote on Twitter.

The social media post was in response to a tweet by Congress leader Manickam Tagore on why suggestions for an EMAS were "ignored".

The recommendation for either an arrestor or an additional safety area along the runway and towards the end of it was part of a 2011 report prepared by the Civil Aviaion Safety Advisory Committee formed after the Mangalore crash in 2010.

Subsequently, the DGCA issued a directive and safety area beyond the runway was extended to the recommended length of 240m, the Minister said.

PTI adds

Mr. Puri on Monday also questioned various tweets by Congress MPs on the plane crash in which many were killed.

“There was some excited tweeting by few members of Congress Party without fully being aware of the facts,” said the Minister.

“MP @RavneetBittu did not know the difference between a narrow body aircraft & a wide bodied one yet he tweeted as an expert on the subject! He did well by deleting his tweet,” he said in a tweet.

The Ludhiana MP of Congress, Ravneet Singh Bittu, had alleged on Twitter on August 8 that “despite several red flags and 2015 ban on wide-body aircraft’s landing at Kozhikode airport, Hardeep Singh Puri removed the ban in July 2019 leading to such a fatal crash and loss of lives”.

The Air India Express plane that crashed on Friday night was a B737, which is a narrow body aircraft.

Mr. Puri said in another tweet, “I am glad that my friend @ShashiTharoor has checked the facts & changed his tune yesterday. But MP @manickamtagore stands out with his astounding lack of awareness. For starters, he wanted me to go to Kozhikode when I was already on my way!”

Air India plane crash | Kerala govt announces Rs 10 lakh compensation

The Union Minister further said, “Such was his (Tagore’s) desire for media attention that he did not study the basic facts before turning into an aviation security & protocol expert. Visits of Ministers should be timed in a way that they do not hamper relief & rescue operations by professional agencies.”

Also read: What is a ‘tabletop airport’ and how many are there in India?

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 rain on Friday night, fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two, killing 18 people, including the pilots.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:32:16 PM |

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