New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) A demand to allow wide-bodied aircraft at Kozhikode airport in Kerala, after speedy completion of an enquiry into last year's Air India Express crash, was made in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
Raising the issue through a zero hour mention, M V Shreyams Kumar of Loktantrik Janata Dal said Kozhikode airport has been neglected in utilising its full capacity by increasing the traffic and expediting the development works planned.
'Kozhikode airport had been one of the high earning airports with revenue of about Rs 160 crores per year. It has been reduced to just above Rs 70 crores now,' he said.
The shifting of Haj embarkation point to Kochi has left about 15,000 pilgrims from Malabar in difficulty, he said, adding international flight traffic at the airport too has been reduced to half.
'It happened because large aircraft are not allowed operation for the last six months since the Air India crash on August 7, 2020,' he said.
On August 7, 2020, an Air India Express Boeing-737 plane repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the pandemic overshot the runway in heavy rain and crashed, leaving 21 dead.
Authorities, he said, are waiting for the release of the report of the enquiry committee entrusted by the DGCA to restart the operation of wide-bodied aircraft at the airport.
'The preliminary enquiry report was to appear at least within a month of the appointment of the committee. But even after six months, the enquiry report has not seen light. Even more, the committee has asked two more months to complete the enquiry,' he said.
Kumar said most Gulf workers from Malabar have been dependent on Kozhikode airport for many years.
Due to the discontinuation of large-bodied aircraft, big airline companies have withdrawn their services from Kozhikode airport. Also, many development works are delayed including the extension of runway, new parking area, apron and approach road.
'I request that the enquiry on the air crash be expedited and the report be released. And the wide-bodied aircrafts allowed so that big airlines start operation in Kozhikode,' he added. PTI ANZ ANZ RDM RDM