Air crash leads Indian authorities to inspect local airports

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India's directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) plans to inspect airports in the country as part of a safety drive, following two recent incidents.

Officials will inspect and review facilities at airports, including runway conditions, says the ministry of civil aviation.

The airports that will be inspected first on a priority basis are Leh, Kullu, Shimla, Port Blair, Agartala, Lengpui, Calicut, Mangalore, Jammu, Patna, Latur, adds the ministry.

Officials will also carry out checks on airlines' maintenance programmes and inspect maintenance hangars, it says.

The checks come after two incidents involving Air India Express aircraft late last month.

On 22 May, an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 overran the runway at southern India's Mangalore International Airport and crashed.

Four days later, another Air India Express 737-800 experienced a sudden loss of altitude mid-flight while flying to Pune from Dubai. Reports said the incident occurred when the pilot left the cockpit.

In response to the two incidents, the DGCA has issued fresh directives on standard operating procedures, says the ministry.

Among this is a reminder to pilots to carry out landings correctly. "A good landing is not one that the passengers perceive as a soft landing, but one that is made at the correct point on the runway with the correct flight parameters... If however, for any reasons, the approach is unstabilised, a go-around is a safer option which affords the pilot another opportunity to conduct a safe approach to land," says the ministry.

The DGCA has also directed cabin crew to be inside an aircraft's cockpit in the observer seat in cases when one of the flight crew members has to leave the cockpit.

"The cabin crew shall remain in the flight deck [until] the flight deck crew member returns to the flight deck," says the ministry.