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Wide Bodied Aircraft Operations to Resume from Calicut Airport

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has announced the resumption of wide bodied aircraft operations from Calicut International Airport by M/S. Saudia Airlines from December fifth. Along with the commissioning of the Greenfield airport at Kannur about fifty kilometers from Calicut, the Gulf employees of Malabar region of Kerala will have good air connectivity.

The Gulf employees from Malabar region in North Kerala who constitute a substantial proportion from the state had to depend on the Cochin international airport for their travel purposes due to limitations in Calicut airport.

Wide bodied aircraft operations were suspended from May 2015 due to safety reasons.  Subsequently AAI has taken action for strengthening and re-carpeting of the runway and grading of runway strip to cater to the requirement of heavy aircraft operations. In order to improve safety, AAI has also taken measures to increase the runway end safety area as directed by the regulatory authorities and installed simple touchdown zone flights on both runways.

Further, a compatibility study and safety assessment were conducted in accordance with the ICAO guidelines as recommended by the joint DGCA-AAI inspection team to assess suitability of the aerodrome for the safe operation of wide bodied aircraft.

Based on the compatibility study report, safety assessment and risk mitigation measures, DGCA has issued NOC for wide bodied aircraft from Calicut airport.  M/s. Saudia is commencing their services with wide bodied aircraft (A330-300/B777-200ER) to Riyadh and Jeddah. The schedule is as follows: The flights from Jeddah to Calicut and back to Jeddah will be operated from Calicut airport on Mondays, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The flight will arrive at Calicut airport at 11.10 hours and depart at 1.10 pm

The flight from Riyadh will arrive at the same time at Calicut airport on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and depart at the same time.

Calicut International Airport is a profit making airport run by AAI and handles more than 3 million passengers annually, of which 2.6 million are international passengers.

The resumption of operation of wide-bodied aircraft at Calicut airport remained bleak, with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) disapproving the compatibility study report submitted by the Airports Authority of India on the operation of the modern versions of Boeing and Airbus at the airport three years ago..

Director of Operations (Aero Standards), had apprised the Calicut airport authorities that the compatibility study report on the operation of wide-bodied aircraft did not include mitigating measures to be taken by airline and airport operators in respect of non-compliance with the formal requirements.

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