India Runway Overrun Investigation Highlights Pilot Errors

 - September 13, 2021, 10:50 AM

The pilots of an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 that crashed at Calicut Airport in Kerala state on Aug. 7, 2020, failed to follow correct procedures during a second attempt to land in heavy rain, according to a report by India’s Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB). The accident, in which Flight 1344 from Dubai skidded off the runway, killed 21 of the 190 people on board, including both pilots.

The AAIB report published on September 11 cited multiple breaches of operational procedures, including a failure to conduct a satisfactory briefing for a landing attempt made with high tailwinds and severely reduced visibility, and incorrect calculation of revised landing data for the conditions. The investigators, who were able to retrieve evidence from both flight and cockpit data recorders, found that visibility was further undermined by a malfunctioning windshield wiper.

They suggested that the carrier’s safety performance in the incident might have been compromised by systemic failures and a weak safety culture that gave “rise to errors, mistakes, and violation of routine tasks performed by people operating within the system.” Back in May 2010, 158 people were killed when another Air India Express flight overshot the runway at Mangalore.

Among the recommendations by the accident investigation team were that the carrier should conduct more extensive and realistic simulator training. They also emphasized the need for improved crew resource management and the adoption of international practices for stabilized approaches.

Data captured by FlightRadar24 at the time of the August 2020 accident showed that the pilots tried to land three times, first on Runway 10, then Runway 28, and finally again on Runway 10. According to local media reports, it was raining at the time of the accident and the region is currently in its monsoon season.

Neither Air India Express nor its parent company has yet published an official response to the accident report.