On Friday an Air India Express flight, again from Dubai, crash landed at Karipur airport in Kozhikode, Kerala, some 265 kilometres south of Mangalore airport, while attempting to land.
Karipur, like Mangalore, is a table-top airport. The pilot failed to see the runway due to a heavy downpour, overshot and crashed into a valley.
The front portion of the aircraft from the cockpit to the front wings was completely destroyed and the aircraft broke into two pieces. There were 191 passengers on board, including five cabin crew and two pilots.
“There is no room for error while landing at Kripur airport. If you overshoot, the aircraft could crash into a gorge of 30-35 feet,” said Wing Commander K.B. Shiva Kumar, a former Indian Air Force pilot, who has landed at the airport several times.
Wing Commander Shiva Kumar said that as it was raining while the flight landed, the braking action on the wheel would not have been effective in reducing the ground speed. “Aquaplaning or hydroplaning is a condition in which standing water, slush or snow causes the moving wheel of an aircraft to lose contact with the load bearing surface on which it is rolling,” he added.
In July 2019, the national aviation regulator – Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) criticised Karipur airport over safety concerns. After an audit, DGCA found excessive rubber deposits on the runway, which could reduce friction leading to unsafe landings, especially during heavy rains.