Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 29 May 2023 4.34 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport-the place for safe landing of aircrafts in any adverse situation


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The international airport in Thiruvananthapuram has a runway where an aircraft can land safely in any adverse situation such as machine failure, fog, heavy rain, or strong wind. The Karipur-Dammam Air India Express flight chose Thiruvananthapuram airport for landing after circling for two and a half hours. The plane had a hydraulic failure and had to make a safe landing.

It is not the first time that planes with engine problems have made emergency landings. In July 2021, a passenger plane from Thanjavur to the Southern Air Command in Thiruvananthapuram made an emergency landing here due to a hydraulic malfunction. Despite the oil leak, the aircraft landed safely and was towed to the technical area. The airport and runway had to be closed for ten minutes to clean up the oil spill. The problem was a hydraulic oil (fluid) leak in the Air Force's British-made Avro aircraft used for military operations.

A Sharjah-Karipur Air India Express flight with 104 passengers and eight crew members had also made an emergency landing while flying at an altitude of 39,000 feet over the Arabian Sea when it encountered a hydraulic failure. When the flight from Sharjah was approaching Karipur, the pilot received a message that the hydraulic system was malfunctioning. The pilot was not ready for an emergency landing at Karipur and Nedumbassery. A B-category emergency was declared here, and smoke from the left tire of the landed aircraft was doused with five state-of-the-art Panther crash fire engines.

Can counter any emergency

  • Aircrafts that have malfunctions can be landed with emergency preparedness.
  • On declaring an emergency, five Panther crash fire tenders will be stationed on either side of the runway.
  • City police, fire force and hospitals will be alerted. Fire force units and police will be stationed outside the airport.
  • More emergency facilities will be provided in hospitals. Coordinating the work of all the agencies is Apron Control.
  • If the runway is damaged, it will be closed and a warning will be issued to pilots and aircraft and instructions will be given to the airlines.

In adverse weather

  • Airplanes can be landed safely even in heavy fog. The airport was the focal point of 'Operation Synergy' which rescued 1540 fishermen stranded at sea during Cyclone Okhi. During the great flood, when Nedumbassery was submerged, the flights were diverted to Thiruvananthapuram.
  • With an approach lighting system worth Rs 5.83 crore, landing will be possible even if visibility is reduced to 550 metres. Earlier it was 800 meters. This avoided the accidents of skidding off the runway and diverting the aircraft due to reduced visibility.
  • At Nedumbassery and the tabletop airport Karipur, landing is impossible in fog and rain, Thiruvananthapuram does not have this problem. The 3373m long and 150ft wide runway was re-carpeted to the same standard as in 191 countries.
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