Days after the accident at Kozhikode airport involving an Air India Express flight, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday decided to ban wide-body aircraft at the tabletop airport.
“As a means of abundant caution, we have stopped them from coming to Calicut till the monsoon season,” the DGCA said in a statement.
An Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people on board skidded off the runway and fell into a valley while landing at Kozhikode airport amid heavy rains on August 7. As many as 18 people, including the two pilots, died in what could be the first major plane accident in Kerala.
Scores of passengers have been injured, with 23 of them in critical condition at various hospital.
Wide-body aircraft like B747 and A350 have a bigger fuel tank and can therefore travel longer distances in comparison to narrow-body aircraft like B737 and A320. A wide-body aircraft also needs a longer runway length to take off or land.
The table top runway 10 of the Kozhikode airport is approximately 2,700 metres long. Wide-body aircraft operations were permitted at this airport from 2019.
The DGCA said that the aviation regulator will conduct a special audit of airports that receive heavy rains.
After the Kozhikode incident, there were allegations that the DGCA had ignored the proposal for using Engineered Material Arrestor System (EMAS) technology to ensure the safety of tabletop runway. The EMAS is a unique surface of special materials that is built at the end of the runway to stop the aircraft in its tracks if it has overshot the area while landing.
However, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday that the provision of EMAS is not mandatory in a civil airport as per the ICAO guidelines.
With inputs from PTI