On May 22, 2010, a Boeing 737-800 passenger plane flying Air India Express Flight 812 from Dubai to Mangalore crashed on landing in Mangalore. Despite three requests from the First Officer to begin a ‘go-around’, the skipper maintained an unstable course. As a result of this choice, the plane overshot the runway, crashed into a hillside, and caught fire. This was the first deadly event involving Air India Express.
Who was the crew on this aircraft?
Captain Zlatko Gluica, First Officer Harbinder Singh Ahluwalia, and four flight attendants made up the crew. Gluica, 55, was a former Jat Airways of Serbia employee, a British and Serbian national with over 10,000 hours of flying and over 7500 hours of command experience, while Ahluwalia, 40, was a former Jet Airways employee who joined Air India Express in 2009, having recorded 3620 flight hours.
About the Airport:
When the plane touched down at Mangalore International Airport, it crashed. The airport is located on a hill and is one of seven Indian airports classified by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation as a ‘critical airfield’ (DGCA). DGCA rules prohibit ‘supervised takeoffs and landings’ at key airfields, which implies that only the captain (not the first officer) may operate an aircraft during takeoff and landing. Captain Gluica had landed at Mangalore Airport 16 times, while first officer Ahluwalia had flown to the airport 66 times.
A closer look at the crash:
The final talks between Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the pilot before landing revealed no signs of concern. Television video taken immediately after the crash showed the wreckage of the plane on fire and laying on its belly, with smoke coming from the wreckage. Praful Patel, the then-Civil Aviation Minister, reported that weather conditions were normal, winds were calm, and there was no rain at the time of the incident. Only after the crash did the drizzle begin. Of the 160 passengers and six crew members on board, 158 were killed (all crew members and 152 passengers) only 8 survived.