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DGCA suspends operation of wide-bodied aircraft at Calicut airport

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on August 10, 2020

The wreckage of the Air India Express flight at the Calicut International Airport   -  REUTERS

The Director General of Civil Aviation is reported to have suspended the operations of wide-bodied aircraft at the Calicut International Airport, following the accident of the Air India Express flight on Friday night, killing 18 passengers on board, including the pilot and the co-pilot.

Currently, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Air India are operating wide-bodied aircraft at the airport. Sources in the sector said that the DGCA has given a verbal order in this regard to temporarily withdraw the services of these airlines.

MK Raghavan, MP, said in a statement that the decision to suspend the wide-bodied flights at Calicut cannot be justified. The airport had complied with all the stipulations for the operation of big aircraft.

It may be recalled that the operations of wide-bodied aircraft was banned in Calicut airport from May 2015 following the court of enquiry report on the Air India Express Boeing 737 crash in Mangaluru in May 2010. However, the DGCA had allowed the operations of such aircrafts at Calicut after several representations by the State government and different agencies.

Sources at the Cochin International Airport Ltd said here that they have no information on any diversion of such wide-bodied aircrafts from Calicut to Kochi and the airline companies have so far not rescheduled any services from there.

The Calicut Airport had been the embarkation point for Haj pilgrims from Kerala and Lakshadweep when the Civil Aviation Ministry shifted the facilities to Kochi. After that the airport was partially closed from June 1, 2015 to March 1, 2017 to strengthen and re-carpet the runway.

Later, the DGCA gave permission to Air India, Saudia and Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways to resume operations of wide-bodied aircrafts with conditions in 2018. But only Saudia had restored flights from December last year. Air India followed suit, but Emirates is yet to take a call in this regard, sources said.

Published on August 10, 2020

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