Home >News >India >Safety concerns red-flagged by DGCA at Kozhikode airport were addressed: Hardeep Singh Puri

Several issues like excessive rubber deposits, water stagnation, and cracks at the Kozhikode airport that were routinely red flagged by aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), were addressed by the airport operator Airports Authority of India (AAI), civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday evening, a day after an Air India Express flight from Dubai carrying 190 people skidded off a wet runway killing at least 17 people.

In a series of tweets, minister Puri said that raising such safety concerns is the normal work of DGCA.

"DGCA strictly ensures that these are complied with and rectified under all circumstances and this was done by the airport operator," the ministry of civil aviation said in a statement quoting the minister.

A little over a year ago, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had served a notice to the airport, operated by the government-run Airports Authority of India (AAI), after an audit revealed safety concerns over ‘excessive rubber deposits’—an occurrence that poses even higher risks in times of rains.

The Kozikode table top airport in Kerala, the site of the accident involving Air India Express IX344, is not among the easiest to operate flights,

The repatriation flight operated by Air India Express, flight number IX344, was being operated by former Indian air force pilot Captain Deepak Vasanth Sathe and first officer Akhilesh Kumar, both of whom were killed in the accident.

Puri on Saturday tweeted that AAI strengthened the runway and thereafter necessary permissions were issued in 2018 to operate wide body aircraft. Consequently, certain carriers started operating some flights with wide body aircraft to Kozhikode Airport.

The minister said that Kozhikode Airport has a total footfall of 3.2 million passengers per annum with 70-80 aircraft movement per day.

He added that in case of the Kozhikode accident, an enquiry has been ordered under Aircraft Act, while black boxes of flight IX-1344 have been recovered.

Findings of the investigations will be made public, he added.

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