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Tabletop airports under review to enhance air safety measures

The landing and take-off phases of a flight are the most critical period in any flight operation, but the pressure is even more so at runways with restricted space hence airlines deploy their experienced resources for these flight operations as during hostile weather conditions, pilots have to be wary of undershooting or overshooting a tabletop runway, an airport executive said.Premium
The landing and take-off phases of a flight are the most critical period in any flight operation, but the pressure is even more so at runways with restricted space hence airlines deploy their experienced resources for these flight operations as during hostile weather conditions, pilots have to be wary of undershooting or overshooting a tabletop runway, an airport executive said.

  • Plans afoot for categorization of all airports on account of operational difficulties

NEW DELHI : The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is expected to review tabletop airports in India in a move towards enhanced aviation safety at the airports of the country, two officials told Mint. 

“There has been a discussion around the review of tabletop airports or the airports with challenged terrain. These can be airports where the runway is elevated as compared to the surrounding geography. The motive is to increase prevention against any unforeseen incidents at such airports and check for areas where we can identify what more can be done to make landings and take-offs at such runways less challenging," a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

The tabletop runways in the country currently include Kozhikode in Kerala, Mangaluru in Karnakata, Shimla and Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, Lengpui airport in Mizoram and Pakyong in Sikkim. “The DGCA can re-evaluate these tabletop runways which are at a higher elevation and can suggest more measures if needed for such airports which have an undulating terrain," the official added.

The discussions were held by a high-level panel chaired by the civil aviation secretary. Initially, the panel was formed in 2020 to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) at Kozhikode airport after the crash involving a Boeing 737-800 Air India Express aircraft on 7 August, 2020, killing 21 people onboard including both pilots. The panel had also reviewed the status of the implementation of the AAIB’s recommendations at the Mangalore airport where a plane crash had killed 158 people in May 2010.

The committee has also discussed a proposal of categorization of all airports in India on account of operational difficulties, but so far, there is not enough merit in favour of this proposal, another official said. 

The landing and take-off phases of a flight are the most critical period in any flight operation, but the pressure is even more so at runways with restricted space hence airlines deploy their experienced resources for these flight operations as during hostile weather conditions, pilots have to be wary of undershooting or overshooting a tabletop runway, an airport executive said.

 

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