Recently a Boeing 737 of Air India Express on a special ‘Vande Bharat’ accident has once again turned the spotlight on operations to what is called ‘tabletop airports’ in India.
It is an airport located and built on top of a plateau or hilly surface, with one or both ends of the runway overlooking a drop.
The airports in the country which would count as “tabletops”, are namely Lengpui (Mizoram), Shimla and Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), Pakyong (Sikkim), Mangaluru (Karnataka), Kozhikode and Kannur (both Kerala).
There is no such term as a ‘tabletop airport’ in any International Civil Aviation \Organisation (ICAO) technical document.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) refers to these airports in this manner by way of highlighting safety measures during operations to these runways.