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Kozhikode Plane Crash: Supreme Court Issues Notice to Centre Over Runway Safety

Over a month after the tragic Air India Express plane crash in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the aviation ministry along with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on a plea seeking to install a fail-safe mechanism to prevent aircraft from overshooting tabletop runways at airports like Mangaluru and Kozhikode.

New Delhi: Over a month after the tragic Air India Express plane crash in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the aviation ministry along with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on a plea seeking to install a fail-safe mechanism to prevent aircraft from overshooting tabletop runways at airports like Mangaluru and Kozhikode.

The plea sought that the aviation ministry installs Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) that will help stop airplanes from overshooting runways as did in case of the Dubai-Kozhikode flight.

Union Civil Aviation Minister told the top court Captain S S Chahar is heading the probe into the Kozhikode plane crash and will submit a report on the investigation to Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) “preferably within five months from the date of order”.

Notably, the Kozhikode International Airport, that suffered one of India’s worst aviation disasters last month, had been issued a show-cause notice by the DGCA in July 2019 after an audit revealed ‘significant’ safety concerns.

The Air India Express plane crash with 191 people on board took place amid heavy rains as the pilots failed to land the aircraft properly. The aircraft skidded off the airport’s tabletop runway and plunged 35 feet into a gorge, splitting into two and resulting in the deaths of 21 people who were on board, including the two pilots.

The DGCA’s initial probe had also found cracks and stagnating water on the runway, with the regulator giving the Airports Authority of India (AAI) 15 days to respond to it.

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