Air India Express accident at Calicut was facilitated by the regulator, how?

  Air India Airbus Landing at Port Blair (Source Dr Puneet) Blaming the pilots alone for an accident is like addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause of the Calicut accident of IX1344 on 7th Aug 2020 is the poor safety culture prevalent in India and the ineffective regulatory oversight. This landing(YouTube video) can be categorized as a deliberate attempt to endanger the lives of passengers and crew. This is not the Calicut landing but a landing at another critical airport where most of the year the airport experiences tailwinds. Since the airport has a unidirectional runway ( landing from one direction only), the flight crew has no option but to land in tailwinds. The situation worsens during the monsoons when there is a tailwind and the runway is wet and braking action reduces. Action has not been taken either by the regulator or by the airline safety. Why? What is the role of the regulator? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory

Risky approach & poor investigation of a close shave for 145 Air India passengers at Surat

Source: DGCA incident report

An Air India A320 from New Delhi to Surat on 04th Oct 2017 had a narrow escape from disaster when the crew decided to continue with a high speed approach and touched down late, more than half way down the runway. The investigation was carried out by a sole investigator and the report submitted 3 years hence, which is 3 times later than an accident report would have taken. This gives an indication of the weightage that is given by the authorities to find out the root cause and prevent such occurrences.

The report reveals that the aircraft touched down at the position as indicated in the pictorial description above. The report findings document that 600m was remaining for the flight crew to stop the aircraft. The visibility was absolutely clear but the investigator did not question the Air Traffic Controller why no one could see the aircraft overshoot the runway and report the same? The aircraft was not grounded and the cockpit voice recorder which is a vital piece of information to determine the root cause, not downloaded.
An A320 would typically require 1100m to land and stop on the runway.
Broken lights

The runway lights that have the glass only missing face the opposite direction runway. The aircraft landed on runway 22 and these lights are missing, no glass pieces for runway 04. There are no tire marks beyond the extremities of the runway.

Read the full report on the DGCA WEBSITE ..

If what the report has depicted is true and the aircraft stopped on the paved surface, it was a very close call for the passengers and crew. It is extremely difficult to stop the aircraft within 600m without experiencing high loads on the aircraft structure. The calculation is probably incorrect.A cursory cross check of the data presented in the investigation report reveals the poor investigative skills and analysis. This occurrence qualifies as a serious incident and would need to be investigated by the Aircraft Investigation Bureau. DGCA has downgraded the occurrence and taken over 3 times the time as taken for an accident to conclude this incident report.

Letter to the DG

The safety culture survey 2020 conducted by Safety Matters, the NGO on Safety has highlighted the investigation by the state as a major concern. This report is an example of poor investigation which has diluted the occurrence and failed to draw learnings from it. No doubt that the crew must have aborted the landing in the aircraft state of speed and rate of descent at various mandatory points of decision making on an approach, there was a need to determine the state of the crew and their decision making which prevented them from taking the safer choice of an aborted landing an attempting again.


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