Talks on for resumption of big aircraft operation at Calicut

Airline companies told to submit assessment report by January 15

Efforts to restore the operation of wide-bodied aircraft at the Calicut International Airport commenced, with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) holding consultations with major airline companies on Tuesday.

As such, airlines planning to start or resume operation of wide-bodied aircraft have been asked to submit more documents on safety risk assessment by January 15. This is as per the requirement of the Director General of Civil Aviation, the regulatory body of the Ministry of Civil Aviation dealing with safety issues.

Sources said representatives of Air India, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) had attended the online meeting with AAI officials. Reports submitted by airline companies will be forwarded to the DGCA for approval, the sources said, adding that it was apart from airlines and AAI being asked to stick to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) such as Regulatory Take Off Weight while operating wide-bodied aircraft.

The operation of big aircraft at the airport was suspended after the Air India Express crash on August 7. The aircraft involved in the crash was classified under Code C (medium or short range).

In November last year, a special team led by S. Durairaj, Deputy Director of Operations (Aerodrome Standards), Southern Region, had carried out an inspection at the airport. Concerns have been raised after the airport was excluded from the list of Haj embarkation points.

Incidentally, it was in July 2020 that Saudia resumed operation of Haj flights after a gap of five years.

The operation of wide-bodied aircraft is likely to be resumed after a five-member team of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) probing the Air India Express crash submits its report.

Earlier, the DGCA had given No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to three airlines — Air India, Saudia, and Emirates under political pressure.

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