Pilot’s non-adherence to SOP probable cause for Kozhikode plane crash: AAIB report

‘The role of the systemic failures as a contributory factor cannot be overlooked in the accident’

September 12, 2021 05:22 am | Updated 10:13 am IST - New Delhi:

The pilot’s non-adherence to the standard operating procedure (SOP) is the probable cause of the Air India Express plane crash at the Kozhikode airport in August 2020, but the role of the systemic failures as a contributory factor cannot be overlooked in the accident, according to the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) probe report.

The crash, involving a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, killed 21 people, including the two pilots, and injured several others. While trying to land at the airport amid rain, the aircraft overshot the runway and later broke into pieces. There were 190 people onboard when the crash happened on August 7, 2020.

The AAIB released the report on Saturday.

The report, released a little over a year after the deadly crash of the Air India Express plane, said the “probable cause of the accident was the non adherence to SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) by the PF (Pilot Flying)”.

The PF continued an unstabilised approach and landed beyond the touchdown zone, “half way down the runway, in spite of ‘Go Around’ call by PM which warranted a mandatory ‘Go Around’ and the failure of the PM to take over controls and execute a ‘Go Around’”, it noted.

According to the report, the investigation team is of the opinion that the role of systemic failures as a contributory factor cannot be overlooked in this accident.

“A large number of similar accidents/ incidents that have continued to take place, more so in AIXL, reinforce existing systemic failures within the aviation sector,” the report said.

“These usually occur due to prevailing safety culture that give rise to errors, mistakes and violation of routine tasks performed by people operating within the system. Hence, the contributory factors enumerated below include both the immediate causes and the deeper or systemic causes,” it added.

On Thursday, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scinida said the report would be made public in the next couple of days. “... within the Ministry, we will be also putting together a group of people that will be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the steps that have been recommended in the report are put in place at the airport,” the Minister had said.

Last month, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation V.K. Singh told the Lok Sabha that final compensation offers have been made to all the next of kin of the deceased passengers, but none of the “next of kin has sent their acceptance as of date”.

“Final compensation offers have been made to all the 165 injured passengers, out of which 73 passengers accepted the offer and have been paid a total amount of ₹60.35 crore as the final settlement as of date,” he had said.

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