Air India Express said on Saturday that three relief flights had been arranged for Kozhikode in Kerala to assist passengers and their family members affected by the plane crash a day ago. It stated that Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal, and Air India Express Chief Executive Officer K Shyam Sundar had already reached Kozhikode.
The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 on board overshot the tabletop runway at Kozhikode airport on Friday night while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two, killing at least 17 people. Two special relief flights have been arranged from Delhi and one from Mumbai for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and the family members, the airline, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, said.
'The Emergency Response Director is coordinating with all the agencies in Calicut (Kozhikode), Mumbai as well as Delhi, Dubai for effective emergency response,' it said in a statement. 'The AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau), DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) & Flight Safety Departments have reached for investigating the accident,' it added.
Officials said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri would go to Kozhikode on Saturday. The airline said its chief of operations and the chief of flight safety had already reached Kozhikode. Seventeen people, including two pilots, have died in the incident, it said. 'The four cabin crew members are confirmed safe.' The aircraft was a Boeing 737.
'We are aware of media reports from Kozhikode International Airport (Karipur Airport) in Calicut, India,' aircraft manufacturer Boeing said in a statement. 'We are gathering more information, and closely monitoring the situation. We have reached out to our customer to offer our assistance,' it said.
Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, special repatriation flights have been operated by Air India and Air India Express since May 6 under the Vande Bharat Mission to help stranded people reach their destinations.
Private carriers have also operated a certain number of flights under this mission.