Air India Express flight skids off tabletop runway at Kozhikode, pilot dead

Dubai-Kozhikode Air India flight (IX-1344) skidded during landing at Karipur Airport in Kerala | Photo: ANI
An Air India Express Flight from Dubai to Kozhikode in Kerala crashed at the Calicut International Airport while landing on Friday night.

The aircraft VT-AXH, a Boeing 737 aircraft had 191 people, including flight crew onboard.

Initial information from the ground suggests that while passengers were grievously injured, most of them survived. However, the pilot of the aircraft didn’t survive, sources said. The injured have been taken to hospitals near the airport.

The incident happened around 7.40 pm on Friday, when the aircraft apparently overshot the tabletop runway and plunged 30 feet. This resulted in the aircraft splitting into two with serious damage to the cockpit area. There were around 191 people on the flight, including passengers and crew.

Air India Express flight 1344 operated from Dubai to Calicut, overshot runway at Kozhikode airport at 1941 hrs tonight. No fire reported at the time of landing,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement.

Sources said that due to heavy rains, the runway was wet and the crew of the aircraft couldn’t control the speed of the aircraft. “Visibility was 2,000 m in light rain, which might have obstructed the crew. The aircraft broke into two pieces. There will be a thorough investigation,” said a government official.

Table top runways have been responsible for accidents earlier.

Apart from Kozhikode airport in Kerala, Mangalore airport and Lengpui airport in Mizoram have tabletop runways. Runways at these airports, which are located on hilltops, create the optical illusion of being at the same level as the plains below when a pilot comes in for landing.

On May 22, 2010 , at Mangalore airport, which also has a table top runway, Air India Express flight IX 812, following errors by the pilots, fell off the cliff at the end of the runway and burst into flames killing 158 of the 166 people on board.

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