New Delhi: On Friday, an Air India Express with as many as 191 passengers on board en route from Dubai crashed at the Kozhikode airport in Kerala. The Boeing 737 NG or Next Generation overshot the runway while attempting to land at Kerala’s ‘tabletop’ Kozhikode airport. The aircraft broke in two pieces after nose-diving into a 30-feet gorge in a nearby valley.
According to aviation experts, a combination of factors such as slippery runway, strong tailwind, bad weather conditions, and landing ahead of the threshold could have contributed to the fatal accident. In a report by IANS, two aviation experts highlighted the plausible causes including hydroplaning in which the presence of water causes a moving wheel to lose contact with the load-bearing surface.
“It may be due to lack of friction between the tyres and the runway. There may be the factor of hydroplaning due to waterlogging,” said a pilot in the report.
The pilot said that hydroplaning can make braking or maneuvering of the plane impossible which makes it difficult to reduce the speed of the aircraft after landing. He also said in the report that landing ahead of the threshold could also be a reason.
“Probably, the pilot landed ahead of the threshold or the usual spot, owing to bad visibility, strong tailwind, and a slippery runway — all odds were stacked against him. With a reduction in distance available to bring the plane to a halt, the pilot would have to literally sit on the brakes with full reverse engine power. The ditch at the end of the runway must have been on his mind. The slippery runway seems to have done the rest,” said the former navigator in the report.