Friday, December 16, 2016

Don’t expect too much from probe, say experts

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), which is probing Sunday’s Aarey Colony chopper crash, has a huge backlog of cases. The 8-member bureau is investigating 16 accidents and 25 other serious incidents at present, and one of these dates back to 2011.

The bureau is staffed by personnel who have earlier served at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and experts who are appointed on a case-to-case basis. Some of these AAIB officials are also facing vigilance and departmental probes.

The AAIB was set up as an adjunct to the DGCA in July 2012, as mandated by the International Civil Aviation Authority, and charged with conducting investigations, and identifying all immediate and underlying causes of an accident or incident.

But aviation experts feel that the short-staffed AAIB has not been able to move quickly enough when it comes to investigating accidents and recommending safeguards. The general perception about the AAIB is that it only moves quickly on cases that have attracted a lot of attention, such as the recent incident involving a Jet Airways aircraft at Tribhuvan International Airport, in Kathmandu. The bureau, say observers, has still not filed its report on the Air India Express crash in Mangalore, in 2010.

“There are cases that date back to 2011. The report on the Turkish Airways accident in Mumbai is still to be completed,” said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, a former member of the government-appointed Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Committee. The final report of the September 2011incident, when an Airbus A340 from Istanbul skidded off the rapid exit taxiway, shutting down the airport for four days, is still awaited.
16/12/16 Aditya Anand/Mumbai Mirror
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