New Delhi: The skidding off a plane during its landing at Kanpur runway has dashed the hopes of several upcoming projects of Air India as it was planning to interconnect small cities with airways.

The management of Air India declared its ambitious plan to begin flight service in Agra, Gorakhpur, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Deoghar and other 42 small towns in May, but the mishap at Chakeri Airport, which did not claim the life of any passenger though, has put the project into rough weather.

Presently, Air India authorities have big challenge to appoint trained pilots for this operation, as landing plans at small runway is billed to be a cumbersome task. The pilots having expertise in landing are keen on operating aircrafts in metropolitan cities. 

According to sources in Air India, as many as 42 towns have runways similar to Kanpur. Bhagalpur and Deoghar runways are said to be much smaller than the average runway, which are not operational. Muzaffarpur runway is only 4,000 feet long and 100 feet wide.

Agra and Gorakhpur airports are under the civil enclaves of Air Force, like Chakeri airport of Kanpur. Gorakhpur runway is equivalent to that of Kanpur, while Agra's runway is much larger where Boeing 737 can be easily landed.

Taking a serious note of the Kanpur runway mishap, Air India has given strict directives to its pilots to take extra caution during take-off and landing of the planes.

(JPN/Bureau)