High-level panel discussing corrective actions based on Kozhikode plane crash report: Official

The high-level panel, which is examining the recommendations made by the AAIB in its Kozhikode plane crash report, is discussing corrective actions that need to be taken and will submit the report within the given time frame, according to a senior official. Chaired by Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal, the committee was set up in September after the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) submitted its report to the civil aviation ministry on the deadly Air India Express plane crash that happened last year at Kozhikode airport in Kerala.

The panel has also been asked to look into the status of the implementation of the AAIB’s recommendations following its probe into the plane crash at Mangalore airport in May 2010.

Bansal said that two meetings of the panel have happened and corrective actions that need to be taken are being discussed.

“The committee has been given two months’ time and one month is over. We will submit the report within the time frame,” he said.

He spoke to PTI on the sidelines after the inauguration of the Kushinagar international airport in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

In the crash involving a Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by Air India Express from Dubai to Kozhikode, 21 people, including the two pilots, were killed and several others were injured.

As many as 43 safety recommendations were made by the AAIB in its Kozhikode crash probe report, which was made public on September 11.

According to the report, the crash at the Kozhikode airport on August 7, 2020, replicated the Mangalore crash on May 22, 2010. A total of 158 people were killed in the Mangalore accident.

When the panel was set up, it was chaired by Pradeep Singh Kharola who was then the Civil Aviation Secretary. After his retirement, Bansal, who is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, took over as the secretary on October 1.

The Co-Chairman of the panel is Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Fali Homi Major. Other members of the panel include DGCA chief Arun Kumar, AAI Chairman Sanjeev Kumar, AAIB Director General A Handa and former AAI Member (ANS) Vineet Gulati.

Ex-ICAO expert Arun Rao and a representative of the IMD are also part of the panel.

According to the AAIB report, the events of the plane crash at Kozhikode replicated the Mangalore crash of 2010. “Ten years later, on 7 August, 2020, it was once again a similar tabletop aerodrome, the same airline, the same type of aircraft that landed off an ‘Un-stabilised Approach’ and touched down past half the runway and resulted in another major disaster”.

In the probe report on the Kozhikode crash, the AAIB said the pilot’s “non-adherence” to the standard operating procedure was the probable cause of the plane crash but also noted that the role of the systemic failures as a contributory factor cannot be overlooked in the accident.

The AAIB also mentioned about systemic failures, Air India Express’s poor crew resource management, to possibility of visual illusions due to low visibility and sub-optimal performance of the PIC’s (Pilot-In-Command) windshield wiper as various other causes that contributed to the crash.