DGCA Suspends AirAsia India Head of Operations, Air Safety Head Over Safety Violations

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)  has suspended AirAsia India Head of Operations, Air Safety Head for a period of three months over “safety violations”, a senior official said on Tuesday.

In June this year, one of the AirAsia India’s former pilots — who runs a YouTube channel called Flying Beast — alleged violations of safety norms by the low-cost airline.

“We had issued a show-cause notice to two AirAsia India executives — Head of Operations Manish Uppal and Head of Flight Safety Mukesh Nema — in June only. It has been decided now to suspend them for a period of three months,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said.

AirAsia India didn’t answer PTI’s request for a statement on this matter.

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Captain Gaurav Taneja, a popular Youtuber, tweeted on June 14 that he has been suspended by AirAsia India “for standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers”. On June 15, he posted a detailed video on YouTube titled “Reasons behind suspension from my pilot job”.

Taneja alleged in the video that the airline has asked its pilots to do 98 percent of landings in “Flap 3” mode, which allows it to save lots of fuel. He said if a pilot doesn’t do 98 percent of landings in the “Flap 3” mode, the airline considers it a violation of its standard operating procedure (SOP).

Flaps are a part of wings of an aircraft and they are engaged to create drag during a landing or a take-off.

Taneja gave the instance of the Imphal airport, where the plane descends more steeply as compared to other airports when approaching for landing. He said when an aircraft is coming down steeply, it must have a drag so that it remains slow, and in these circumstances, a pilot has to do a “Flap full” landing.

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“In order to achieve targets, what would people do? they’re going to do Flap 3 landings without giving consideration whether it’s safe or unsafe. This directly impacts the passenger safety,” he had claimed in his YouTube video.

“If something happens during a Flap 3 landing, then the question would be asked to the pilot if he or she cares more about saving fuel or 180 passengers” lives, Taneja had said.

On June 15, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Twitter that it had taken note of the concerns raised by some stakeholders “against a specific airline and its approach to safety”.

“DGCA has already started an investigation into the issues flagged and shall take appropriate action based on the outcome of the said investigation,” it added.

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Senior DGCA officials had confirmed on June 15 that AirAsia India was under investigation after Taneja’s allegations.

(Source: PTI News)


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