The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India has reportedly banned wide-body aircraft operations on a temporary basis at Kozhikode Airport in Kerala, India.

The suspension is expected to last until the end of the monsoon.

Last week, an Air India Express plane with 191 passengers and crew on board crashed at Kozhikode International Airport, killing 18 people.

The Boeing 737, which was part of the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indian nationals stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic, skidded off the tabletop runway in rain, fell into a 35-feet valley and broke into two portions.

The crash seems to have occurred due to the slippery runway, caused by the heavy rains. The airport features a tabletop runway which is normally found at high-altitude airports.

The landing of aircraft, in particular wide-body aircraft, at tabletop runways is said to be a difficult task.

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In 2010, an Air India Express plane overshot Mangalore International Airport, which is a tabletop airport, killing 158 passengers.

Following the crash, wide-body aircraft operations were suspended at the airport.

DGCA has also planned to carry out audits of the airports in the country that are affected by the heavy rains, reported Reuters.

DGCA head Arun Kumar said: “We will conduct additional checks at major, busy airports across India that are affected by the monsoon rains.

“We will review everything: the condition of the runway, its incline, the lighting as well as drainage.”

In July last year, DGCA ordered the operators of major Indian airports to acquire disabled aircraft recovery kits (DARK).

In 2018, DGCA granted permission for the use of semi-robotic vehicles known as taxibots that pull aircraft from the parking bay to the runway point.