Thiruvananthapuram: The safety issues at the Kozhikode airport was flagged at least a year ago. The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had found and reported in 2019 that the runway at Karipur was too smooth due as it was ‘rubber-tempered.’ This would reduce friction and landing aircraft could skid off the runway.
The DGCA had issued a notice to the Airport Director in this regard. Sources said the accident of Friday indicated that the repair and maintenance works were not effective.
The DGCA had asked the airport to ensure that friction is maintained at a level above that of other airports in the country as Karipur is a table-top runway. The airport did the work using equipment procured to remove rubber from the runway.
It is being reported that the water draining system of the runway also had issues. The draining system ensures that there is no waterlogging. The slant and gradient of the runway were also not fine. The DGCA had also found that the distant indication wind equipment, used to gauge wind direction, was also not optimally functioning.
Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said that all issues such as excessive rubber deposits, water stagnation and cracks that were red-flagged by aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the past were "addressed and rectified" by the Kozhikode airport operator.
In 2011, the Rajya Sabha was informed of the safety issues of 11 airports in the country. These were Mengaluru, Leh, Kulu, Shimla, Port Blair, Agarthala, Jammu, Patna, Lattur, are the airports listed in the RS report. Some work was taken up at the Karipur airport but the main recommendation of widening the runway was not taken up.
Karipur is listed as a ‘critical’ airport. The DGCA report assessed the facilities at the airport, operating procedures followed, topography, etc. The experts from the Flight Operations Directorate and the Aerodrome Standards Directorate prepared the report.