Everyone is saddened by the crash of Air India Express flight number 1344 at Kozhikode Airport in Kerala on Friday evening. The aircraft included in the Air India Fleet was Boeing’s 737-800. Kozhikode Airport was opened on 13 April 1988. 18 years later, in 2006 the airport was converted into an international airport. This airport is the third in Kerala and the 11th busiest airport in India. The airport in Kerala at which this accident happened is a tabletop airport. Tabletop airports are considered very dangerous to land aircraft. The operation of large aircraft is restricted here. The successful landing of aircraft here mostly depends on the experience and understanding of the pilot. Therefore, there is no scope for any kind of mistake during landing here. Before proceeding further let us tell you about the tabletop airport.
What are Tabletop Airports
Tabletop airports are actually built on a hill. There are trenches around these airports or on either side of the runway. Due to being built on a hill, their runway is also much shorter than other airports. This also happens because the hills are within a limited range. They can be flattened and made to runway on it. In such a situation, it is also very difficult to build a big runway here. Due to being on the pedestal, the runway and safety area at these airports is also less. This area indicates the distance the aircraft is after the runway to ensure proper safety. At such airports, apart from the length of the runway, their width is also less.
Where is the tabletop airport
There are only four such airports in the world. These include Calicut International Airport in Kerala, Mangalore International Airport in India, Lengpui Airport in Mizoram and Pakyong Airport in Sikkim. Apart from this, the airport of Goa, Port Blair, Leh is also considered dangerous in terms of landing. Nepal’s Talcha Airport, Tenzing Airport, Tribhuvan International Airport, Tumlingtan Airport are also tabletop airports. Juancho Airport on the island of Caribbean in the Netherlands is also a tabletop airport. Other similar tabletop airports in the United States are Catalina Airport in California, Sedona Airport in Arizona, Yiger Airport in Western Virginia.
What is difficult in landing
Difficulties are more difficult to land planes at the tabletop airport. Shortening the runway here is not only a big problem, but the frequent weather changes at such an airport often cause problems. Apart from this, strong wind also poses a big challenge for the pilot. Not only this, during the monsoon season, these airports become more deadly. Due to wet runway, there is more fear of aircraft slipping. Here the pilots are clearly instructed that if they fail to touch down in the distance, then take the aircraft back into the air and try again. Failure to do so increases the chances of accident of the aircraft. Such airports in South India become very dangerous every year from June to September.
This is because the southwest monsoon becomes active at that time and due to this, these areas receive very heavy rainfall. Apart from this, there is no problem in landing the planes due to clear weather here in May. But during the monsoon, the situation becomes terrible. Clouds are often very close to the runway during the monsoon due to which there is a lot of difficulty in seeing the pilot. The runway here has been reduced to 2450 meters to land Boeing 737-200 aircraft at the airports of Jaipur and Port Blair, including Mangalore. After this, Airbus 320 can also be lowered here. Rescue and fire safety service has also been upgraded to category 7. The runway here is designed to have a perfect landing at night.