Aviation ministry gives clean chit

Aviation ministry gives clean chit

There was enough landing area, says Secretary

Speaking to mediapersons here, Union Civil Aviation Secretary M Madhavan Nambiar said the Mangalore airport has adopted best international practices on safety norms including the size of runway and its length.  

He also dismissed suggestions that the ‘table top’ airstrip at Bajpe airport was risky, saying it met aviation norms. “There was enough landing area and over 90 meters of runway end safety (RES) area,” he said.

The RES area is a smooth earthen surface at the end of the runway. It is specifically prepared for reducing damage to a airplane in the event of an overshoot or excursion from the runway. He said the airport meets the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. The ICAO says a minimum of 90 meters (300 feet) starting from the end of the runway strip must be available to avert any mishap.

The runway, which was used by the pilot on Saturday has been operational since 2006 and logged 32,000 aircraft landings.  The flight touched runway in normal condition and the pilot had not made any complaints to the Air Traffic Control (ATC), he said.

The commander of the aircraft, Captain Z Glusica, who had 10,200 hours of flying experience, had flown from Mangalore airport 19 times and co-pilot Captain H S Ahluwalia, who had 3,650 hours of flying experience, flown from this airport 66 times. Glusica, an expat pilot, is from Serbia, and had been with Air India since 2008 while Ahluwalia, who joined from Jet Airways, had been with the company since 2009.

Dismissing the talk of expat pilot having communication error with ATC due to language problems, Nambiar said there was no such complaint against him.