AI flight makes risky landing in Aizawl

Aizawl: Were the airport authorities here taking a big risk in clearing the touchdown of an Air-India aircraft despite a key equipment required during landing not functional?

An Air-India Kolkata-Aizawl flight Sunday landed at the Lengpui airport, which has one of the three table-top runways, with 145 passengers onboard after failing to do so for past three days due to inclement weather and that too when the VOR (Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range) equipment was out of order, U K Ghosh, senior manager, Airports Authority of India, said.

The landing come just weeks after the Mangalore air crash that claimed 158 lives and some mid-air scares in the recent past.

The IC-211 landed here at 4.00 pm and though the weather was good today, the landing took place in the absence of the VOR instrument, which was out of order, he said.

VOR is a system of navigational beacons positioned in various locations at the airport. Each beacon broadcasts a signal at a particular frequency, which is picked up by a navigation receiver in the aircraft cockpit.

Ghosh said the VOR and the one on standby suddenly did not work today and the Kolkata-Aizawl flight which was supposed to land here at 1.40 pm was diverted to Imphal as the pilot could not land with visual and manual aid.

The same flight again came from Imphal and landed at 4.00 pm.

The 2,500 metre runway of the Lengpui airport is unique in that it has many streams running underneath. The airport is one among the three airports in India that has a table top runway (others being Kozhikode and Mangalore), which creates an optical illusion that requires a very precise approach from the pilot.

Lengpui Airport is the second largest in the Northeast region.