Kochi: The specially-trained recovery team of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has proved its mettle by removing the ill-fated Air-India Express flight that skidded off the runway early on Tuesday to the hangar on Wednesday morning.
The CIAL, the only airport in the country to have dedicated disabled aircraft recovery team (DART) and equipment, completed the operations to remove the aircraft within 24 hours of the incident while keeping the functioning of the runway relatively free for operations despite the mishap.
Apart from a specialised team of people and equipment which ensure the airport operator a safe and timely removal of a disabled aircraft, the CIAL has enhanced its DART’s operational facilities with comprehensive aircraft recovery equipment (ARE) of international standards bought at a cost of Rs 7.15 crore in 2016. The equipment consists of a complete set of debug kit and ground reinforcement system to pull narrow- body aircraft with damage to the undercarriage using heavy vehicles over any swampy or clumsy terrains.
The DART was formed in 2012 in the wake of the difficulties experienced by the airport management to remove a Gulf Air flight that had overshot the runway and landed in slush. The equipment needed for towing the disabled aircraft had to be brought by Air India from Mumbai as the CIAL had no aircraft recovery equipment. The team was also not equipped with aircraft recovery trailer which added to the delay.