Fatalities As Air India Express 737 Crash Lands

Filed Under: Air India

This is absolutely tragic. An Air India Express Boeing 737-800 crash landed this evening.

The flight in question was Air India Express 1344, bound from Dubai to Kozhikode. The plane operated the roughly ~1,660 mile flight as scheduled, in 3hr56min, but it seems that the plane overshot the runway during landing.

While details are still emerging, initial reports suggest that there were 190 people on the flight, and that at least 35 people have been injured, and at least two people have died, including one of the pilots.

The plane involved in the incident was a roughly 14 year old Boeing 737-800 with the registration code VT-AXH.

It remains to be seen what exactly caused this, though there was heavy rain around the time that the plane attempted to land. Initial pictures of the scene suggest that the fuselage of the plane broke into two, so this situation goes beyond a standard runway excursion.

For those of you not familiar with Air India Express, the airline is a low cost carrier that operates a fleet of 25 Boeing 737-800s, and it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India.

My thoughts are with all of those onboard and their loved ones… this is simply awful.

  1. Its a ‘tabletop’ runway with steep slope at the end – the aircraft practically fell down and hence the fuselage breakage

  2. @Matt It was not a random route. Infact traffic between Gulf and the indian state of Kerala where this airport lies is so huge that Air India spun off a subsidiary Air India Express to cater to this demand. This was Y186 configured aircraft performing a repatriation flight from Dubai for stranded citizens. It had 174 adults, 10 children and remaining Crew.

  3. The 738 is the workhorse for countless airlines, and if well maintained are extremely reliable.
    Sounds like pilot error combined with a crappy runway.

  4. @Matt: Because the Gulf petro-states are heavily dependent on imported labor from India and other less developed nations (e.g. Philippines, Nepal) to provide the basic services they no longer want to do themselves. These workers don’t generally have a choice whether or not to travel and don’t have the means to spring for a nice business class seat in Emirates or Etihad.

  5. A 12 knot tailwind in heavy rain and with poor braking action. Add to that a table top runway with little margin of error and we are left to wonder exactly why the pilots would choose to land under these conditions.

  6. More fake pilot qualifications ? The cultures of Pakistan and India are not so different in that respect …

  7. @Henry Young~ One of the many reasons I would never, ever Fly Air India. Has always been my position.

  8. @Henry Young, @Glenn T, make sure that you do some research about this before you comment on it mate. The Captain was an Ex-Indian Air Force Pilot who had won presidential gold medals and had decades of experience. The other pilot in charge was a Captain as well. They are both really experienced pilots unlike the fake ones at PIA. I agree corruption is common in that part of the world.
    The reason of this crash is due to the poorly-designed CCJ airport. This sounds so similar to the IX812 crash which was unable to speed down the runway on a table-top airport after touch-down from Dubai. The government seems to be reckless about this and not care about the civilians who use this airport. It’s mainly designed for ex-pats who are workers in the Middle East. This also explains as to why Emirates never flies!!!

  9. @bruh~ Well before this happened, and before Covid-19 too, I made the decision never to fly Air India. Mainly because it’s a sh!tty airline badly run, rife with nepotism and cronyism, incompetent, and perpetually a financial basket case.
    There may well have been good people peppered through the organisation, but not enough in the right places to make a difference.

  10. @bruh being a former air force pilot with gold medals, etc is all the more reason for being able brazenly to cut corners on getting fully and comprehensively trained and qualified for a follow on career as a commercial aviation pilot. This is a culture where nepotism and privilege is rife. “I’m an ace air force pilot – of course I don’t need to do these boring training courses, bad weather simulator landings, etc. Just sign me off and I’ll put in a good word for you with my good friend The President” 😉

  11. @ bruh
    According to Wikipedia, Emirates DOES fly to CCJ, it’s just that flights have been “temporarily suspended”, most probably because of the pandemic.

    @Henry Young
    Comparing the number of accidents/ incidents occurring between 2005 (the year Air India Express was founded) and 2020:

    Air India: 1 (From pilot error: 0)
    Air India Express: 2 (From pilot error: 1 or 2, unsure about this one)
    P.I.A: 6 (From pilot error: 2)
    Emirates: 3 (From pilot error: 2)
    Air Canada 3 (From pilot error: 3)
    Delta: 3 (From pilot error: 0)
    BA: 4 (From pilot error: 0)

    (And by ‘pilot error’, I mean the pilots were definitely involved in some way in causing the crash, not necessarily being the sole cause).

    Just saying.

  12. @Henry Young – Okay. That’s a good point. But looking specifically into this crash, the only reason why 174pax survived the accident is because of the professionalism of the crew. They switched off the engines prior to landing because they knew that this is it. (the latest updates are out) Had the engines been switched on, there could’ve been an explosion and everyone onboard could’ve been killed. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

  13. Henry Young the Captain of the Air Asia crash was also an Air Force pilot. Are you saying they aren’t capable of flying commercial airliners, in the event of weather related incidents?

  14. @Marco What I’m suggesting is (1) there us a big difference between flying fighter jets and commercial airliners requiring retraining together with a toning down of a famously cavalier attitude pervasive among air force pilots (my father was one such) and (2) said credentials might be leveraged to short circuit full and comprehensive training on a significantly different category of aircraft, remaining current with simulator time, etc. Entirely speculative on my part of course.

  15. @Henry-Young

    Even US Airways Flight 1549 Pilot Captain Chelsey Sullenberger “Sully”
    was also an ex-USAF pilot and initially, even he was criticized for not diverting to other airport instead of landing on the Houston river.

    The airline is not hollow in itself, and is the only cash cow that generates cashflow for the Parent Company, Air India, thanks to Middle East-South India traffic.

    On the crash,
    The pilot had tried 2 times to land but bad weather(rains in Kerala, the state in which the airport was located) and tailwinds from Runway 28 forced him to land from Runway 10. By God’s Grace, the fuselage didn’t catch fire and many lives were saved because of this

    Lastly, our pilots are totally on the other side of the world when compared to Pakistani pilots.

  16. @henry young: if “cutting corners” happens in your country doesnt mean it happens everywhere. Fyi, significant amount of commercial pilots are ex air force pilots regardless of the country. If you dont want to fly them bcoz of their service, your choice but they have a very good safety record.

  17. @ glenn t: wait for authorities to extract data recorder and voice recorder then we will know what happened. Per your opinion, looks like you are the only competent pilot in this world. First learn basics on how the plane flies then judge others whether they are competent or not.

  18. While I agree there’s several reasons to not fly Air India (to the point that it’s become almost fashionable to say so by folks who’ve never flown it), safety is not one of them. I’ll be the first to admit after decades of having flown both US and Indian airlines (narrow and wide body), quality of engineering and integrity of pilot qualifications has never been an issue. Of course anyone who says there isn’t bureaucracy and corruption, or even governance issues in South Asia is lying but what’s affected Air India’s reputation at least in my opinion isn’t flight safety.

  19. @Dealgrabber~ my opinion is my opinion to which I’m entitled. Your remarks are duly disregarded as irrelevant.

  20. @Glenn T Go to sleep . Its way beyond your nap time

    @henry-young Useless speculation doesnt help anyone.

  21. @Hotel Sierra Kilo – that’s interesting data. It would be even more interesting to render the data comparable, normalizing it as a percentage of flights flown by each airline. That probably makes more sense as a basis than, say, miles flown because most incidents are at takeoff or landing.

  22. If anyone remembers the very same situation happened in 2010 – same airline, same aircraft type, same departure airport, same arrival region, and similar run-way condition located on a hill. That was Mangalore Airport.

  23. Wow – so much bitching by people who are desperate to be regarded as important but only manage a catfight on a blog’s comment section. ‍♂️

    FWIW – I’d rather fly on Air India than the junk airlines we have here in the States.

    What an unfortunate incident. Prayers for loved ones and the families.

  24. @Emily Thats hilarious. Do you work for Air India? Safety records aside, AI, especially in International business class, makes United or Delta look like Qatar or Singapore Airlines. Dont make absurd statements, which fly in the face of reviews and ratings by people who do this for a living, just to try and one up people who annoy you.

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