The “probable” cause of the Air India Express plane crash — which killed 21 people, including the two pilots at the Kozhikode airport last year — could be the pilot’s non-adherence to the standard operating procedure, said a report released by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau.
With 190 people on-board, the aircraft overshot the runway and later broke into pieces on August 7, 2020.
The report, released a little over a year after the deadly crash, said the “probable cause of the accident was the non-adherence to SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) by the PF (Pilot Flying)”.
The PF continued an unstabilised approach and landed beyond the touchdown zone, “half way down the runway, in spite of ‘Go Around’ call by PM which warranted a mandatory ‘Go Around’ and the failure of the PM to take over controls and execute a ‘Go Around'”, it noted.
According to the report, the investigation team is of the opinion that the role of systemic failures as a contributory factor cannot be overlooked in this accident.
“A large number of similar accidents/ incidents that have continued to take place, more so in AIXL, reinforce existing systemic failures within the aviation sector.
“These usually occur due to prevailing safety culture that gives rise to errors, mistakes and violation of routine tasks performed by people operating within the system. Hence, the contributory factors enumerated below include both the immediate causes and the deeper or systemic causes,” it added.
The Boeing 737 Air India Express flight was operating under the Vande Bharat Mission to bring back Indians stranded after international flight operations were suspended on account of COVID.
After two unsuccessful attempts to land due to bad weather, the plane touched down on the tabletop runway but overshot it, fell into the adjoining valley and broke into pieces.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scinida said the report would be made public in the next couple of days.
“Whatever steps that have been advocated on the basis of that report, those steps will be and has to be executed.
“… within the ministry, we will be also putting together a group of people that will be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the steps that have been recommended in the report are put in place at the airport,” the minister had said.
Last month, Minister of State for Civil Aviation VK Singh told the Lok Sabha that final compensation offers have been made to all the next of kin of the deceased passengers, but none of the “next of kin has sent their acceptance as of date”.
“Final compensation offers have been made to all the 165 injured passengers, out of which 73 passengers accepted the offer and have been paid a total amount of Rs 60.35 crore as the final settlement as of date,” he had said.
(With PTI inputs)