Patna air mishap report gathering dust

The aged aircraft, while landing at Patna, missed the runway while taking a 360 degree turn without maintaining the right altitude and hit the residential quarters. It was a devastating scene. The debris was strewn all over. And so were the bodies of the passengers. 

Ten years down the line, the report of court of enquiry is gathering dust. The crash had exposed the shortcomings of Patna airport, particularly its proximity to the zoo and short runway (not feasible for landing aircraft like Airbus 321, Airbus 300 or Boeing 747).
Air Marshal P Raj Kumar, who had investigated the crash, later concluded that the accident occurred due to fault of the pilots, who had opted to make a 360 degree turn while maintaining high altitude leading to loss of control over the aircraft.

 In his report, Kumar had recommended relocation of the airport, expansion of existing runway, better training of pilots and adoption of other safety procedures. Most recommendations have not been implemented.

During the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime, Patna airport witnessed three MPs from Bihar—Sharad Yadav, Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy—taking over as Union Civil Aviation Minister one after another. But nothing much changed, except its name. It’s now officially known as Jayaprakash Narain International Airport, though it has so far failed to meet international standards. Even a minor problem in a tyre leads to engineers being flown from New Delhi.

So far as the length of the runway is concerned, it is one of the shortest in the country. Officially, the total length of the runway is 6,409 feet, but only 5,061 feet is in use.
“The rich shrubbery on the eastern end and the railway cabin with its overhead traction lines on the south-western part reduces the effective runway length by 439 feet and 909 feet respectively,” said airport director Arvind Dubey.

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