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Aviation expert’s 2011 warning about ‘unsafe’ KIA runway fell on DGCA’s deaf ears

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Mumbai, Aug 08: Flights landing on runway 10 in tailwind conditions in rain at the Kozhikode airport endanger the lives of people onboard those flights, a civil aviation expert had warned in 2011.

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    Captain Mohan Ranganathan had flagged concerns about the runway in a communication to then Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi in June 2011.

    Aircrash site

    Ranganathan was then a member of the operations group of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Committee (CASAC).

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    The communication assumes significance against the backdrop of the Air India Express plane crash at the airport on Friday that killed at least 18 people, including two pilots.

    The Boeing 737-800 plane, coming from Dubai, had overshot the runway while landing in heavy rains and broke into two pieces. "... in spite of the danger if the crew accept a landing in wet and tailwind conditions, their concept of ALAR (Approach and Landing Accident Reduction) is very poor," he had said in the communication.

    The communication came against the backdrop of an Air India Express aircraft crash at Mangalore airport in 2010. As many as 158 people had died in the crash. "... all the flights that land on Runway 10 in the tailwind conditions in rain, are endangering the lives of all on board," Ranganathan had said.

    With tailwind conditions, the descent of an aircraft at the time of landing might be affected. Kozhikode airport in Kerala comes under the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

    The airport has a tabletop runway. Details about action taken by authorities concerned following the communication could not be ascertained.

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