Thursday, October 18, 2018

Air Transport Growth in India Threatened by Safety Lapses

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) awaits a visit by a Federal Aviation Administration team from the U.S. on October 31 and November 1 to review compliance of safety oversight following an audit carried out a few months ago. If the Indian regulator hasn’t addressed major oversights, it risks a downgrade to Category 2 status, similar to that issued in 2014. Such an outcome would result in a grim deceleration in growth plans of domestic carriers with ambitions to fly to the West.

Recent incidents include an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 flying for four hours in a severely damaged state after clipping a perimeter wall and instrument landing system antennas at the airport in Tiruchirapalli on takeoff. Others include a case of a technician getting sucked into an engine, near midair collisions, and many bird strikes. Release of investigation reports generally takes at least a year.

Now the urgency has become apparent. Late last month, following several injuries resulting from a fall in cabin pressure aboard a Jet Airways 737-800 due to flight crew error, minister of civil aviation Suresh Prabhu ordered a safety audit of all scheduled airlines and airports. The authorities plan to release the report by October 25.
18/10/18 Neelam Mathews/AINonline
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