Air India Express Flight 1344 was part of the Vande Bharat Mission. This flight was used to repatriate Indians who lived in Dubai due to the Coronavirus pandemic. On 07 August 2020, the flight was scheduled to fly from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates to India. The first landing was planned in Kozhikode, India and then Calicut International Airport.
Calicut International Airport is one of the most dangeroues airprts in India. According to Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Calicut Airport IS A “CRITICAL AIRFIELD”. This means only the experienced captain is able to perform landings and takeoffs at this airport and not atleast the first officer. However, according to Airport Authority of India, Calicut Airport is licensed to perform landings and takeoffs in all weather conditions.
Although, they say that all pilots who perform landings and takeoffs from Calicut Airport should have sufficient flying hours as the Calicut runaway is too short and has inadequate “buffer zones”, therefore it is dangerous for inexperiencd pilots.
As per the Mohan Ranganatham, an employee of safety advisory committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, it is so dangerous to use the Calicut runawy for flight landings during heavey rain especially when the runaway is wet.
The main reason is the Culicut runawy has only 90 meters safety area while other runaways have 240 meters of safety area. Because of these facts many international airlines do not land wide-body aircrafts at Calicut Airport.
However, on 7 August 2020, Air India Express Flight 1344 departed from Dubai with over 100 passengers to Calicut International Airport. The flight aborted landing two times due to veavey rain and tailwind. However, the flight landed with its third attempt and skidded off the end of the runaway. The flight was then slid down a 10.5 meters slope by killing 19 passengers including two pilots.
Fortuanely, 165 passengers and four cabin crew members survived. Out of these 165 passengers, over 100 were injured. This accident was the second fatal plan accident in the history of Air India Express.
After this incident Yeshwant Shenoy, a lawyer filled a case in the Kerala High Court to shut down Calicut Airport operations saying that it is non-compliant with air regulations. He also said that Directorate General of Civil Aviation should implement restrictions when air crafts take of and landing on special conditions.