Rubbishing rumours which suspected the condition of the tabletop runway at Kozhikode Airport behind the crash of an Air India Express flight on Friday (August 7) night in which 18 were killed, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has said that around 100 flights have landed at the airport since May 7 and it posed no danger, reported NDTV.
“Yesterday itself the Civil Aviation Minister clarified that the earlier reports about the condition of the runway has nothing to do with yesterday’s incident. We have a couple of tabletop airports in the country, but whether those airports are fit to continue is a larger question. Having said that, I’d like to remind you that from May 7 onwards, more than a hundred flights under the Vande Bharat Mission have landed at Kozhikode. So tabletop runway cannot be ruled out completely,” he told NDTV.
He said airport authorities had briefed him that the first landing attempt of the Boeing 737 NG aircraft was unsuccessful and it skid towards the left before crashing and breaking into pieces in the second attempt.
Asserting that the aircraft was handled by an experienced pilot and the runway was sufficiently wide for the landing of the Boeing 737 NG, the minister said planes that have landed at the airport since May 7 include wide-body 300-seater aircraft.
A tabletop runway is situated atop a hill or a plateau with both ends ending in a precipice leading to a gorge.
In a similar crash in 2010, an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 from Dubai to Mangalore went up in flames after overshooting the runway, killing 158 passengers and leaving only eight survivors in its wake.