No flight operations at Mangaluru airport during poor visibility: Airport director V V Rao

Mangaluru, Aug 8 (IANS): The state-run Mangaluru international airport at Bajpe in coastal Karnataka does not allow flight operations while it rains owing to poor visibility thereby preventing planes from skidding, an official said on Saturday.

"As our airport is also built on the hillside with a table-top runway, flight operations are not allowed during heavy rains, as visibility will be poor and chance of skidding on the runway is more," Mangaluru airport director V.V. Rao told IANS.

Rao's observation came in the light of an Air India Express Boeing 737 from Dubai crash landing at the Kozhikode airport in neighbouring Kerala on Friday night after skidding on the table-top runway amid heavy rains, claiming 18 lives, including its 2 pilots.

Mangaluru airport director V V Rao

"In fact, an Indigo flight from Bengaluru earlier in the day was not given permission to land at our airport as it was raining heavily and visibility was poor though we have the instrumentation landing facility," said Rao.

As the rainy season brings in heavy showers and are intense with gusty winds during the southwest monsoon from June to September every year especially on the west coast, the DGCA (Director General Civil Aviation) does not allow flight operations when it rains heavily at the Bajpe airport since an Air India Express Being 737-800 crashed on May 22, 2010, claiming 158 lives. A

"The state-run Airport Authority of India (AAI) has implemented a slew of recommendations of the civil aviation regulator (DGCA) made on the basis of the inquiry report into the 2010 plane crash to ensure smooth take-off and safe landing of passenger and cargo aircraft on domestic and overseas routes," recalled Rao.

Before the Covid-19 induced lockdown was enforced on March 25 and extended since then, suspending passenger flights, the Mangaluru airport used to operate 30 flights daily, including 10 from overseas destinations like the UAE.

"Though regular domestic and overseas flights remain suspended due to the pandemic, we have been operating cargo and chartered flights even during the lockdown, including repatriation flights from the UAE by Air India Express to bring back stranded Indians and returnees under the Vande Bharat mission, launched by the central government," Rao pointed out.

The Kozhikode air crash on Friday night, however, brought back memories of a similar crash at the Mangaluru airport over a decade ago, as both have table-top runway.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters at Kozhikode on Saturday that it was too early to compare the Friday air crash with that of the Mangaluru plane crash though both involved Air India Express Boeing 737 and were from Dubai and both overshot the table-top runway.

"Table top is everywhere. It is true that it poses a challenge to pilots. We have to wait for the investigation report on the crash. Though we learnt a lesson from the Mangaluru crash, it is too early to compare the latest crash with the mishap 10 years ago," Puri told reporters after inspecting the crash site near the Kozhikode airport.

In the Mangaluru air crash of Boeing flight 812 from Dubai, of the 160 passengers and six crew members on board, 158 were killed (all crew members and 152 passengers) while only eight survived.

The Boeing which crashed at Kozhiode on Friday is 13 years old and was delivered to the Air India subsidiary in 2006.

According to the green NGO Environment Support Group (ESG) coordinator Leo Saldhana, the Mangaluru air crash was a fallout of criminal negligence of planning and regulatory authorities.

"It was no accident, but a direct result of failure of officials in the DGCA, AAI, the Union civil aviation ministry and the Karnataka government for allowing the parallel taxi tarmac to be built on a table-top runway," said Saldhana.





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Comment on this article

  • Hamza, Calicut

    Mon, Aug 17 2020

    Better to construct a new airport in Calicut to avoid future accidents.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • ad, mangaluru

    Sun, Aug 9 2020

    Very wise decision to save dangers of landing at table top airports which are very few in the world.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shekar Moily Padebettu, Udupi/India

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Whether it is an error or negligence of DGCA or any other concerned authorities,mishap is a mishap,tragedy is a tragedy may be due to human error or technical faults or any other reason.Table top airports with small runway is always dangerous.This is happened because of political leader's ego,DGCA hurry bury decisions and other related reasons at the time of building the airport.Now what we are experiencing is the result of wrong decisions taken by the concerned authorities.Instead of opting for Bajpe as an international Airport,authorities concerned should have opted Padubidri as the ideal place for an international airport,more convenient for Udupi,Mangalore and other nearby places.All the related surveys,works had been carried out but at the last moment they dropped the idea of building Padubidri as an international airport,which has got vast,plain area suitable for an international airport.But because of politics idea has been dropped.

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashfan, Doha

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    We should ban air India this not first time happening
    2010 Dubai to Mangalore it was air India it self ,Tamil Nadu.....
    Mangalore should have good runway and good service also new flights also .so passenger can get good comfortable
    We should stand together and we make protest to make new runway so other flights can land
    They cease lot's of gold and what they do with that they in that they make good runway not thermal

    DisAgree [8] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • Evans C. Sumitra, Udupi/ New York, USA.

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Airport director V V Rao. Right decision taken even though it is late. It is for safety of the passengers and also crew members. Since this weather at this time is unpredictable . I have been traveling since many years to Mangalore with my family from New York via Mumbai and now via Abu Dhabi. I had some problems sometimes when landing in Mangalore airports both the old and the current one. Sometimes it was scary especially during monsoons.

    DisAgree Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pendru, Padavu

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Reactive measure as a result of the recent tragedy.
    Best course of action is to address the root cause, instead of these knee jerk stop gap reactions.
    Have a consistent policy in place, adhere to it and improve it based on learning.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • H. Almeida., Bendur/Andheri

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Readers, there are five airports, located on hill top terrains... They are Mangaluru, Kozhikode (Kerala) Pakyong (Sikkim) Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) Lengpui (Mizoram) These airports are extremely hazardous, for landing, especially during winter and during monsoon season !!! Pilots get stressed, due to the fear of under or over shooting the tarmac !!! The results are very apparent, we saw catastrophic plane crashes, in Mangaluru and yesterday in Kozikihode !!!!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • JWL, KSA, M'lore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    What more we can expect from this Govt., and its Team???
    These people have capacity of how to give maximum troubles to people of India and find easy way to escape from their responsibilities.
    This Govt., never upgraded or modernized any Airports in almost 7 years of their rule.
    This Govt., never bought a single New Aeroplane in almost 7 years of their rule.
    They are only managing, operating Air India 13 years, 18, 20+ years old Aeroplanes which bought under previous previous Govt's.
    These people never built any New Airports other than inaugurating a couple of Airports that those planned, sanctioned under UPA regime.
    These Govt's. only Capable to SALE of our Airports and Airline !!!!!!

    DisAgree [10] Agree [50] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deshbhakt, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Authorities at MIA should be knowing that it's summer in some part of the world or winter, when it's rainy season in Mangalore. Authorities should also be knowing that there is a heavy inflow of Indians during Jul/Aug because the Middle East experiences a peak summer hence schools are given two months' vacation.

    Now, if you say you won't allow landing, what do you expect those people to do ? Spend their vacation sitting at home ? You don't respect their wish to visit their family back home once a year ? Well, for payment, sir, they are not coming at your mercy as refugees - please understand this. At the same time, our neighbouring state has close to half a dozen airports. Not too difficult to commute by train or bus.

    Please decide - MIA wants revenue, or not ? Not from outsiders, rather, from ourselves - Kannadigas.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rathan, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Money is not important compare to lives of the passanger. If any thing goes wrong like calicut ppl lije you start blaming the management /govt
    It is very easy to comment sitting at comfort sofa

    DisAgree [6] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deshbhakt, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 9 2020

    Oh, really, Rathan ???

    In that case, what is the reigning MP doing for the state, may I know ??

    Its been 10 years since the mishap, is he waiting for a prince to come riding a golden chariot from whom he'll ask for an airport in reward for being a lame duck MP for so many years ??

    DisAgree [1] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Paul, mangalore

    Sun, Aug 9 2020

    If they know there was a risk why did they construct new airport on same hill .
    When NEI businessmen had given proposal that they would invest new airport why sidnt Air India agree.
    If they would have agreed we would had a safer , modern ,beautiful airport like kannur ,Cochin.
    Now airport is handled by Adani what changes have happened ???

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse


    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Mangalore Air Crash due to pilot error. But Calicut Air Crash due to wrong decision to fly when the location is on Red Alert. This could have been avoided either by aborting the landing & moving to other Airport or not to fly from Dubai itself. Now not flying in rainy season is just to evading from the responsibility. But depends on the weather conditions decision can be taken.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Paul, mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Please see the excat reason for the crash & then comment.
    This pilot sacrifices his life for others .
    It was aircraft maintance prob.
    Land feral prob. So the pilot took decession to burn the fuel.out .
    Otherwise all passengers would died

    DisAgree [7] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Excellent ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shem, mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Right decision. After approval ,atleast need 5 years to build the new international Airport. But atleast every one have a peaceful journey, god willingly. If any unfortunate happens like this, once in a 5 years or 10, including valuable life, government, airlines and insurance companies will have to compensate big amount to all the passengers. We may have to travel more to reach our destination but atleast we have peaceful life. Table top runway means always dangerous and it is not easy to land on 2nd runway which is opposite side of runway. fit is not easy to take immediate decision during emergency on such a small and table top runway. better to open new airport or to stop its functions during rain. God knows everything better

    DisAgree [2] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rems, Mangaluru

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Avoiding landings from 6 pm to 6 am during peak rainy season would be a good idea. Most tragedies occur during this time and rescue services are very difficult at night.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • J.F D SOUZA, Attavar, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    The stand taken by you with no operations of flights during this heavy rainy season with strong wind and poor visibility is correct. Why take unnecessarily. Yesterdays flight which was met with an accident should have been cancelled considering the present atmosphere and situation. Anyway what happens that happens.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deshbhakt, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    It's wrong to stop an aircraft from landing AFTER it arrives at your doorstep. Where will it go then ? Mumbai ? Goa ?? Keralite airports ?? Is there an idea of inconvenience to passengers by ordering such diversion ? How long can it sustain itself flying around ?? Height of absurdity !

    What do we have the weather forecast for, then ?? Do not give permission for a flight destined to your location to depart if you are not ready to receive them - period !

    DisAgree [8] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pradeep, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Wrightly said.

    Then why was Instrument Landing System (ILS) installed at the airports spending crores of rupees.

    There are un confirmed reports saying there was a landing gear failure that resulted in the skidding. Anyway, after thorough investigations only we will know the facts.

    I also suggest instead of spending thousands of crores in exapnding the current airport an alternate site should be identified to build a state of the art airport in the twin districts.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Wilma Dsouza, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Best is to build a new Airport. We r blessed with so much of coast, build a new airport which will b safe . Human life is too precious to take any chance...we don't need to wait for another bad incident to happen n to take right decision .

    DisAgree [6] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • Narendra Kumar, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    It's not fair to compare Mangalore Air Crash(purely a human error and negligence) and yesterdays Kozikode accident. Capt. Dipak Sathe, He was pilot of Air India Express carrying passengers from Dubai in 'Vande Bharat Mission', which skidded off the runway at Kozhikode International Airport yesterday night. What is learnt is as follows: Landing gears didn't work. Ex IAF pilot made three rounds of airport to empty the fuel which saved plane from catching fire. That’s why there was no smoke seen coming from the crashed aircraft. He turned off the engine right before the crash. He belly landed after the 3rd iteration. The right wing was ruptured. The Pilot martyred but saved life of 180 co-passengers. Le's not jump into conclusions to compare both air crashes.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shameer Mohammed, Riyadh

    Sat, Aug 8 2020

    Agreed, it is the negligence if DGCA. But how is that DGCA is not learning lessons from it. Even after Mangalore incident, question arises how did DGCA approve another table top run away in Kozhikode?

    DisAgree [3] Agree [40] Reply Report Abuse


Title : No flight operations at Mangaluru airport during poor visibility: Airport director V V Rao


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