Air India Express Boeing 737 crash lands in Calicut on arrival from Dubai

Air India Express, the low-cost arm of Air India, last night had an unfortunate accident when an aircraft arriving from Dubai (DXB) to Calicut (CCJ), operating a Vande Bharat repatriation flight, overshot the runway while landing, and split up into two as it did so. In the Air India Express crash at Kozhikode (new name of Calicut), at least 17 people are confirmed to have lost their lives.

Air India Crash Calicut

Air India Express flight IX1344 operated from Dubai to Calicut (Graphic courtesy FlightRadar24)

The Boeing 737, registered as VT-AXH and operating as Flight 1344 from Dubai, stopped in a valley about 35 feet below near the tabletop airport of Kozhikode, India after landing on Runway 10, and split up in the front in two parts. There were torrential rains in Kozhikode, and the aircraft did a go-around many a time before making the landing. Fortunately, the plane did not catch fire upon impact.

The flight was a repatriation flight, bringing back home workers who were repatriating back to India after perhaps losing their jobs due to the CoVid-19 pandemic, or visiting friends and family. Regular scheduled flights are not allowed into India currently given the pandemic. The plane had 174 passengers, 10 infants, 2 pilots and four cabin crew on board.

IX1344 touchdown at about 7:42 PM IST in the evening. The plane, as per flight data available on FR24, first tried to land in the opposing direction (against the wind, per usual practice), before the go-arounds and then landing in the wind direction. Calicut Airport is a “tabletop airport”, which roughly means it is on a hill and has short buffer space to over-run on both ends. Winds were at 260 degrees and tailwinds of 12 knots.

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Two captains, one of them an ex-IAF pilot were at the helm of the plane. Wing Commander Deepak Vasant Sathe, who retired from the Indian Air Force in 2003 was the pilot in charge on the plane.

As per a statement released by Air India Express,

AIR INDIA EXPRESS LTD regrets to confirmn that its flight IX-1344 from DX8 to CCJ was involved in an accident on the 7th of August, 2020 at Calicut. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the passengers and crew and their families.
Further to our Press Release, we would like to inform that as of now there are 17 confirmed deceased including two pilots. The four cabin crew members are confirm. safe. Emergency Response team members as well as Special Assistance Team mernbers (Angels of Air India) have been pressed into service from Cochin, Mumbai and Delhi to render all possible assistance to the passengers as well as to the family members.
A special relief flight has been arranged from Mumbai and Delhi for rendering hurnanitarian assistance to all the passengers and the farnily members. AIR INDIA EXPRESS LTD has established a passenger information centre, and a toll-fr. number has been rnade available for family or friends of those who may have been on board flight IX-1344. The toll-free number is 1800 2222 71. For those calling frorn outside, please call international country code.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those deceased.

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Ajay- while I appreciate you publishing the above. I would appreciate it if you stopped commenting on certain individuals on social media. You’re dislike of this certain individual is very obvious but I do feel it’s unnecessary to keep pointing out “mistakes” this person is making. Hoping for a reply and a meaningful dialogue.


  2. What I don’t understand is that if all or even any of this was true, why not divert elsewhere to a place with no rain and a longer runway?

    From the internet –
    Its hard to believe that Dipak Sathe, is no more. He was pilot of Air India Express carrying passengers from Dubai in ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, which skidded off the runway at Kozhikode International Airport yesterday night. 
    What is learnt is as follows:Landing gears didn’t work.Ex IAF pilot made three rounds of airport to empty the fuel which saved plane from catching fire. That’s why there was no smoke seen coming from the crashed aircraft. He turned off the engine right before the crash. He belly landed after the 3rd iteration.The right wing was ruptured. The Pilot martyred but saved life of 180 co-passengers.
    Deepak was an experienced aerial operator with 36 years of flying experience. A passout of NDA, topper in the 58th course and an awardee of ‘Sword of Honour’, Dipak served Indian Air Force for 21 years before joining as a Commercial Pilot with Air India in 2005.
    He survived in air crash in early nineties when he was in Airforce. He was hospitalised for 6 months for multiple skull injuries and nobody thought that he will fly again. But his strong will power and love for flying made him clear the test again. It was a miracle. 
    He leaves behind his wife and  two sons, both pass outs of IIT Mumbai. He is a son of Brigadier Vasant Sathe who stays in Nagpur along with his wife. His brother, Capt Vikas, was also an Armyman who laid his life while serving in Jammu region.

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