The Air India plane crash at the Kozhidkode airport in Kerala last year was probably caused by the pilot’s non-adherence to standard operating procedure, ANI reported on Saturday, citing a government document. However, it added that the role of “systemic failures” in the accident cannot be ignored.
On August 7, 2020, Air India Express’ Boeing-737 flight bringing Indians citizens back from Dubai overshot the Kozhikode airport’s table-top runway amid heavy rain, tumbled into a valley and split into half. The plane was carrying 190 passengers and crew.
“The pilot had given a warning before landing saying the weather was really bad,” survivor had told the Hindustan Times. “He tried for safe landing twice but lost control.”
Twenty-one people, including the plane’s two pilots, were killed in the crash. A day after the incident, Union minister V Muraleedharan told News18 that had pilot Deepak Sathe not turned off the engine on time and possibly stopped the plane from catching fire, the number of casualties would have been higher.
On August 13, 2020, the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, a division of the civil aviation ministry, announced that a five-member team will conduct an inquiry into the accident. On Saturday, the bureau submitted its final report on the incident to the ministry.
“The probable cause of the accident was the non-adherence to Standard Operating Procedure by the PF [Pilot Flying], wherein, he continued an unstabilised approach and landed beyond the touchdown zone, halfway down the runway, in spite of ‘Go Around’ call by Pilot Monitoring,” it said, according to ANI.
The report added that the pilot might have been overconfident, given the fact that he was experienced in landing at the airport in bad weather conditions.
“This experience might have led to overconfidence leading to complacency and a state of reduced conscious attention that would have seriously affected his actions, decision making as well as CRM [Crew Resource Management],” the report said.
The inquiry document noted that the pilot “seemed anxious to return to Kozhikode in time”, according to The Indian Express. “His actions and decisions were steered by a ‘misplaced’ motivation to land back at Kozhikode as scheduled.”