It’s Time To Ensure Safer Skies
Although it has been 13 years since an aeroplane crashed in Mangalore, killing 158 people, investigating teams have yet to pinpoint the causes of these mishaps and offer preventative measures.
Air India Express Flight 812
Date and Flight Information:
- The mishap took place on May 22, 2010.
- A scheduled international flight, Air India Express Flight 812, flew from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Mangalore, India.
- A passenger jet model Boeing 737-800 was the involved aircraft.
Failure to Execute a “Go-Around”:
- Despite the first officer’s requests, the captain persisted with the landing attempt rather than starting a “go-around.”
- The captain’s decision was made for unknown reasons.
Runway Overshoot and Crash:
- As the plane descended further, it landed past the end of the runway.
- The plane was unable to halt within the available space because of its high speed and the short amount of runway that was still accessible.
- It ran off the runway, tumbled down a rocky slope, split into several pieces, and caught fire.
- 158 people died as a result of the collision, a tremendous loss of life.
- All six onboard crew members—including the captain—died in the incident.
- Only eight people survived out of the 152 passengers who perished.
Inquiry and Results:
- To identify the reasons and contributing variables after the accident, a detailed inquiry was carried out.
- The crew’s judgement, adherence to protocol, and other potential factors like weather, aircraft performance, and runway conditions were the main topics of the study.
- According to the investigative report, the captain’s refusal to perform a “go-around” despite the first officer’s requests played a crucial role in the accident.
Points to Ponder:
NGO’s Concerns and PILs:
- The Environment Support Group filed a PIL in 1997 expressing worries about the second runway at Mangalore airport not meeting emergency criteria.
- The High Court of Karnataka dismissed the PIL.
- The NGO re-filed a PIL in 2002, this time warning of the potential repercussions if the runway did not satisfy standards, but this one was also rejected.
- The organisation appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which remained silent but emphasised adherence to legal requirements and environmental standards during construction.
Failure to Comply with Safety Standards:
- Despite warnings and court rulings, government organisations disregarded legal requirements and environmental standards when building the second runway at the Mangalore airport.
- This failure to comply led to the catastrophic AIE 812 crash in 2010, which claimed 158 lives.
- The Supreme Court also rejected the PIL that outlined the infractions and demanded responsibility, blaming merely the pilot which is something that happens in most of the AIr Crashes.
Infractions and Incapacity:
- The plane crashed because it touched down late and climbed to a high altitude too quickly.
- The aeroplane violated international regulations established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation when it collided with an unauthorised, non-frangible concrete structure.
- These infractions were disregarded by the court of inquiry team, which was led by an Air Marshall.
Lack of responsibility and openness:
- The article emphasises the system’s lack of both responsibility and openness, with investigations frequently placing the blame for accidents on pilots rather than addressing underlying problems.
- The recurrence of accidents brought on by the same mistakes points to weaknesses in training, safety audits, and the inability of investigative agencies to spot and stop reoccurring mishaps.
- The passage makes clear that, on occasion, business considerations for airlines trump safety considerations.
CASAC and Safety Concerns:
- After the incident in Mangalore, the Ministry of Civil Aviation established the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council (CASAC).
- The CASAC pointed out significant flaws in the court of inquiry findings and issued a warning of safety concerns at other crucial runways, including Calicut.
- The Ministry and DGCA are accused of ignoring Calicut’s mandated Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) warnings.
- The failure to put in place basic safety precautions was further highlighted by an accident that claimed 21 lives in Calicut in 2020.
- The judiciary is criticised in the text for denying PILs and holding off on taking action against government organisations.
- It implies that the system can exploit the judiciary’s hesitation and brush safety issues under the rug.
Need for Urgent Measures:
- The text focuses on the urgent necessity to provide workplace safety, training, and qualified professionals in the aviation industry priority.
- It issues a warning regarding the possibility of safety standards being lowered as a result of the introduction of many aircraft without an adequate number of certified specialists.
- The text also makes mention of the possibility that airlines’ failure to pass DGCA financial audits will result in their demise.
- It is emphasised how crucial it is to manage pilot fatigue and take into account the business needs of airlines concerning timetables.