These are the tabletop airports in India – two of them have seen major plane crashes in last 10 years

File picture of a plane landing at Kozhikodehttp://blog.airindiaexpress.in/
  • The Air India Express plane crash which left 18 dead and over a 100 injured, happened when the plane was landing but overshot the tabletop runway at Kozhikode.
  • There are five tabletop runways in India – Mangalore in Karnataka, Kozhikode in Kerala and Lengpui in Mizoram, Shimla and Kullu in Himachal Pradesh and Pakyong in Sikkim.
  • In 2010, a Boeing 737 aircraft of Air India Express in Mangalore had overshot the runway, fell into the valley and exploded.
The Air India Express plane crash which left 18 dead and over a 100 injured, happened when the plane was landing but overshot the tabletop runway at Kozhikode. The severe impact of the crash where the plane fell 35 feet into the valley, broke the plane into two pieces.

What is a tabletop runway?

A tabletop runway is an airport which is located on the top of a plateau and the end of the runway overlooks a deep gorge. There are a total of five tabletop runways in India – Mangalore in Karnataka, Kozhikode in Kerala and Lengpui in Mizoram, Shimla and Kullu in Himachal Pradesh and Pakyong in Sikkim. Landings at these airports require extra skill because of the lack of space.

According to reports, tabletop runways have no room for errors during landing. Experts say that landings at tabletop runways are also tricky because they create an optical illusion for the pilots.
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Experts told IANS that the Himachal Pradesh airport in Jubbarhatti - located 2,196 metres above the sea level - is one of country's 'riskiest' table-top airport.

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The Mangalore crash of 2010

And the tragic incident in Kerala is not the only one to have happened at a table-top runway airport. In 2010, a Boeing 737 aircraft of Air India Express in Mangalore had overshot the runway, fell into the valley and exploded. In the crash, 158 people were killed.
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However, the Kerala incident didn’t have resemblance to the Mangalore crash. "In Mangalore, pilots had landed the aircraft in the middle of the runway. Then they quickly tried to take-off again, thereby using thrust and power," a senior commander told IANS from Mumbai.

In the Kerala incident, along with the tricky runway, the heavy rains were an added disadvantage to the pilot.

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Devastating images show how Air India express plane crash in Kerala split the flight in two and left 18 dead and over a 100 injured


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