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Lengpui Airport safe for passenger flights, claims Aviation Wing

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Aizawl (mizonews.net): Reacting to the P.S. Ahluwalia Inquiry Report on the Cessna Caravan flight accident on May 5, 2011, at the Lengpui Airport that the airport was “not good enough for passenger flights”, the Principal Consultant of the Aviation Wing of Mizoram government has brushed aside the findings, saying the mishap was not because of the airport, but because  of “pilot error”.

“The pilot was young, and had no experience as per the DGCA rules for hilly regions and had no enough flying hours, as a result of which the accident occurred,” the Aviation Wing claimed.

Cessna Caravan flight is operated by the North East Shuttles. The mini aircraft flying from Imphal to Lengpui Airport carrying nine passengers had overshot the runway and crash landed. Miraculously, none of the passengers suffered serious injuries.

“It (airport) should not be regarded as danger for passenger flights. Some people regarded the Lengpui Airport as unsafe  solely to the report of Air Marshal (Retd), P.S. Ahluwalia Inquiry Report which is wrong,” said the Aviation Wing’s statement.

The RESA (Runway End Safety Area), 90 metres long, which had been reported as non-existent has been extended now, it added.

The officials also claimed that the May 4 accident took place because the flight had touchdown near the end of the runway.

New Air Traffic Control Tower soon

However, the Aviation Wing accepted the report that the southern runway end could not be viewed from the Air Traffic Control Tower. “A new ATC tower has been proposed with the funding from DoNER,” the aviation authorities said.

The officials also said that the report about the lack of meteorological facility was true and as such a class III observatory has been set up and “more steps are being taken for improvement.”.

Lengpui Airport is the first large airport in the country to be built by the State Government and it is the second largest airport in the North-East region.

The 2,500 metre runway of the Lengpui airport is unique in that it has many hilly streams running underneath. The airport is one among the three airports in India that has a table top runway which creates an optical illusion that requires a very precise approach from the pilot.

The airport was constructed at a cost of Rs. 97.92 crores and was completed in a record time of two years and two months.

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