Air India Calicut airport crash: Why tabletop runways are tricky for even most experienced Pilots?
Kozhikode, Aug 07: Seventeen people were killed and scores injured when an Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 on board overshot the tabletop runway in Kozhikode airport in Kerala on Friday night while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two portions, officials said.
The pilot-in-command Captain Deepak Sathe and his co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar were among those who died, police and airline officials said.
The incident on runway number 10 - a tabletop runway - brought back memories of the May 22, 2010 crash of Air India Express flight IX 812.
In 2010, following landing errors by the pilots, the aircraft fell off the cliff at the end of the runway and burst into flames killing 158 of the 166 people on board.
What is tabletop runway?
A tabletop runway is a runway that is located on the top of a plateau or hill with one or both ends adjacent to a steep precipice which drops into a deep gorge. This type of runway creates an optical illusion which requires a very precise approach by the pilot.
How many tabletop airports in India?
There are three tabletop airports in India from where scheduled flights operate.
Calicut International Airport in Malappuram, India and Mangalore International Airport in Mangalore, and Lengpui airport in Mizoram are examples of tabletop runways.
What happened in 2010?
The configuration of Mangalore Airport has been cited as a factor in the Mangalore Air crash of May 22, 2010. The Boeing 737 involved overshot the runway threshold touchdown area, failed to stop, went out of control, and rolled down a steep hillside. There is also an incident of an Air India Express Flight 1344 Boeing 737 (as part of Vandhe Bharath Mission) skidding off from the tabletop runway at Kozhikode in Kerala on August 7, 2020 with 19 fatalities including the pilot and co-pilot.