Latest Kerala Local News: Karipur continues to face challenges until a major air service
Kondotty: The biggest crisis before Kozhikode Airport is currently the suspension of large aircraft services. It has been more than three years since large aircraft abandoned Karipur Airport in Kozhikode. This ban on large aircraft came after the plane crash of August 7, 2020.
As part of safety precautions, large aircraft will not be allowed in Karipur unless the length of the RESA (Runway End Safety Area) is increased from the current 90 meters to 240 meters. At present, only C-code aircraft are operational at Karipur. At full capacity, C-code planes cannot fly for more than four to five hours. The plane must fly with a limited weight capacity.
Although Air India used a 189-seat aircraft for the Hajj pilgrimage service, it only carried 145 passengers on board. Operating lightweight services like this is proving to be a loss for airlines. Larger planes can carry three times as many passengers as midsize planes for less than half the price.
Companies have not been affected by larger aircraft operating at reduced carrying capacity. The Boeing 777-300 ER have a load capacity of 375 tonnes. Karipur has the maximum sanctioned capacity of 305 tons. Larger planes can fly continuously for up to 5 p.m. on a full tank of fuel.
Up to 135 tons of an aircraft’s load capacity is reserved for fuel load. Planes that provide service to Karipur do not require as much fuel. All international flights are to the Gulf region. The flight time for this is a maximum of five hours. Therefore, services performed using large aircraft have proven to be very profitable for airlines. The maximum cargo was usually loaded apart from the passengers.
It is not the first time that large planes have been pulled from Karipur. This also happened in 2015 when the ban was implemented due to the track being re-carpeted.
It was in 2002 that large aircraft started serving Karipur with Air India’s Hajj jumbo pilgrimage jet landing at the airport. Large aircraft services existed until 2015. The eight-month ban in 2015 for re-carpeting was not lifted until three years later.
Emirates Air maintained its counter in Karipur for a year and a half, hoping the ban would soon be lifted. However, as clearances continued to be delayed, they withdrew and never returned to Karipur again.
On August 8, 2018, when the ban was lifted, Saudi Airlines began Air India tracked service. Qatar Airlines also obtained clearance but was unable to start service.
Karipur has the required minimum length of RESA. Larger aircraft and longer services will return to Karipur if there is a 240 meter long RESA with the existing 2860 meter runway.
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