Why tabletop runways are extremely challenging for pilots

Vicky Nanjappa
·1-min read

New Delhi, Aug 08: The crash at Kozhikode brought back bitter memories of the flight accident in Mangaluru in 2010. The similarity between the two crashes are that both the airports have tabletop runways.

Tabletop runways are very tricky and known to be extremely challenging even for the best of pilots. A tabletop runway is one which is build over a hill after levelling the surface. The airport at Kozhikode had a tabletop runway. It is located on the top of a plateau with one or both ends adjacent to a steep precipice that drops into a gorge. Owing to safety issues several international airlines had stopped flying bigger aircrafts including the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 into this airport.

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If there is a cliff, it becomes very challenging for the pilot and heavy rains make matters worse. Pilots need to understand the right landing spot, failing which the plane can overshoot the runway.

In Mangaluru in 2010, a similar incident took place when a Dubai to Mangalore flight crashed while attempting to land on the tabletop runway. 158 persons onboard were killed in that crash, while 8 survived.

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