Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Big aircraft to land in Kozhikode after three years

Kozhikode: After a gap of more than three years, Calicut International Airport will resume the operation of wide-bodied aircraft on Wednesday.

The wide-bodied Airbus A330 of Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) from Jeddah will touch down the airport at 11.10 a.m. and fly out on its return journey at 1.10 p.m. The airline will operate daily flights to Jeddah on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and to Riyadh on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

This is after protracted struggles by various socio-political and cultural organisations at different levels at the State and Centre for more than a year. The issue was even raised several times in the Lok Sabha compelling the Ministry of Civil Aviation to initiate steps to resume the operation of wide-bodied aircraft under Code E.

The operation of wide-bodied aircraft was banned at the Calicut airport from May 2015 in the wake of the Court of Inquiry report on the Air India Express Boeing 737 crash in Mangaluru in May 2010. A major reason cited was that the tabletop runway of the airport had only a length of 2,850 metres designed to operate only narrow-bodied Code-D aircraft and that the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) of the airport was inadequate for the wide-bodied aircraft operation.

The issue gained traction after the completion of the RESA work in June 2018. The runway had been partially closed in two phases for six months to take up the work. Thereafter, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) took steps to restore the operation of wide-bodied aircraft following protests led by M.K. Raghavan, Kozhikode MP, and others.
04/12/18 The Hindu