All issues such as excessive rubber deposits, water stagnation and cracks that were red-flagged by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation in the past were 'addressed and rectified' by the Kozhikode airport operator, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday.
The minister's statement came after various news reports stated that the DGCA had issued a show cause notice to the director of the Kozhikode airport on July 11 last year after it found 'various critical safety lapses' in different places, including the runway and the apron.
'It is indeed a fact that several issues were routinely red-flagged by DGCA, and were addressed by the (Kozhikode) airport operator. These pertain to excessive rubber deposits, water stagnation, cracks and other routine issues,' Puri tweeted a day after the plane crash in Kozhikode that claimed at least 18 lives.
The point is that raising such concerns is the normal work of the DGCA, he noted.
'The DGCA also strictly ensures that these are complied with and rectified under all circumstances. This was done by the airport operator,' the minister added.
Puri said an enquiry has been ordered under the Aircraft Act in case of the Kozhikode accident and findings of the investigation will be made public.
'I will encourage all to exercise patience and refrain from making speculative observations bordering on the irresponsible. Again to emphasize, all the issues were addressed and rectified,' the minister said.
The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people on board overshot the runway at the Kozhikode airport in Kerala at 7.40 pm on Friday in rainy conditions and went down 35 feet into a slope before breaking up into two, killing at least 18 people.
Puri reached Kozhikode on Saturday afternoon to take stock of the relief measures.
He went to the accident site at the airport, before visiting the Kozhikode Medical College, where senior doctors briefed him and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan about the condition of the injured people admitted for treatment.
'Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the ill-fated aircraft have been retrieved. AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau) is conducting investigations,' Puri said in another tweet.
A DGCA official said the two devices -- DFDR and CVR -- were with the AAIB and would be sent to Delhi for further investigation.
'Reached Kozhikode to take stock of the status and implementation of relief measures after the air accident last evening,' Puri tweeted earlier in the day.
'My heart goes out to the families & friends of the 18 people who lost their lives in the air accident involving @FlyWithIX Flight IX-1344 in Kozhikode last evening & offer my heartfelt condolences (sic),' he said.
Reasons for the plane crash are being investigated, the minister added.
At 3.47 pm, Puri said on Twitter that he visited the Kozhikode Medical College hospital with Muraleedharan.
'Senior doctors briefed us on the status of various people admitted for treatment. 149 people have been admitted to various hospitals. 23 have been discharged while 3 are critically injured (sic),' he said in another tweet.