AI Pilots’ Union Seeks DGCA Chief’s Removal


Two leading Air India pilot unions said Tuesday that DGCA chief Arun Kumar must be replaced immediately with a suitable candidate with in-depth knowledge of the aviation sector and operational experience, given that his comments on news channels show a total lack of technical know-how and an “amateurism.” View “on the plane crash in Kozhikode.

According to the letter written by Indian Commercial Pilots ‘Union (ICPA) and the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG), Kumar said during one of the television interviews that the “plane did not land smoothly”.

The letter stated, ‘It has come to our notice that…Arun Kumar, IAS, in a nationally televised interview conducted moments after the catastrophic accident of Air India Express Flight..has gone on record to state.. “…two fellows are dead …. and the landing it seems was not appropriate….”. In another televised interview he also mentioned as follows: “…landing was not smooth….”.

On another news channel, Kumar stated that “two fellows are dead…and the landing it seems was not appropriate,” according to a letter the two unions jointly wrote to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday.


Pilot in command Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe, 58, and co-pilot Captain Akhilesh Kumar, 32, operated the Air India Express flight at 190, which crossed the runway and crashed at Kozhikode Airport in Kerala on Friday evening.

Both pilots died along with 16 other people on board in the accident.

Air India Express is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India. The two deceased pilots did not belong to either of the two unions mentioned.

The unions stated: “Whether a landing technique is appropriate or a contributory factor to a mishap can only be ascertained after a thorough, evidence-backed investigation and not by speculative, casual remarks.”


The above remarks by Kumar on the news networks only indicate his “total lack of technical knowledge and amateurish view of the unfortunate accident,” the letter reads.

It is a proven scientific fact that so-called smooth landings can be counterproductive and pose a significant safety risk in certain adverse weather conditions.

When Puri visited Kozhikode the day after the accident, he told reporters that both pilots were very experienced and “there is absolutely no doubt about their competence”.

According to Puri, Sathe, a former air force commander, was one of the most experienced commanders with more than 10,000 flying hours and had landed planes at Kozhikode Airport 27 times.


Kumar had a total of 1,723 hours of flying experience.

The unions called on Puri to “Arun Kumar IAS is immediately replaced with a suitable candidate with substantial aviation knowledge and operational experience, to serve the country as the Director General of Civil Aviation.”

Air India Express said Tuesday that 74 passengers injured in the plane crash in Kozhikode have been discharged from hospital after “becoming perfectly fit”.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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