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Post-Kerala crash, DGCA bans wide-body aircraft at Kozhikode airport

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday banned the use of wide-body aircraft at the Kozhikode airport during the monsoon season “out of abundant caution” following the Air India Express flight tragedy earlier last week that resulted in the deaths of 18 people, along with the two pilots of the aircraft. The DGCA has also said that a special audit of airports that receive heavy rains will be conducted.

“As a means of abundant caution, we have stopped them from coming to Calicut till the Monsoon season,” the country`s aviation watchdog said in a statement.

Asked about the duration of the ban, the DGCA official said, “No date has been fixed. We will wait for the monsoon to get over and as a means of abundant caution we are doing it.” 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 Air India Express flight carrying 190 passengers including 10 infants had skidded while landing at Karipur airport in Kozhikode on August 7. As many as 18 people, including the two pilots, had lost their lives after the AI flight carrying 190 people from Dubai met with the accident at the airport.

According to the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, 23 passengers, among those hospitalized after the accident, were in a critical condition and three have been put on a ventilator, while 81 others were recovering.

Reports state that the tabletop runway 10 of the Kozhikode airport is approximately 2,700-metres long. Wide-body aircraft operations were permitted at this airport since 2019. The senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said, “The special audit will be done at airports like Mumbai and Chennai that are affected by heavy rains annually.”