Saturday, August 08, 2020

Air India Express crash: DGCA under scanner as industry expert points out 'flawed investigations'

The crash of Air India Express flight IX 1344 has again brought the DGCA under the scanner. The industry regulator, aviation experts say, has been guilty of addressing the symptom, but not the cause.
"Aviation safety in India is truly at the nadir with the unfortunate accident," said Amit Singh, an industry veteran and Fellow of London's Royal Aeronautical Society.
Writing about the incident in his aviation blog Avobanter, Singh pointed out that the accident is a culmination of flawed investigations.
"After 22nd May 2010 when the Air India Express B737 crashed at Mangalore, there was a thorough investigation with numerous recommendations. Unfortunately, a year down the line all was forgotten," he said.
The 2010  crash in Mangalore, which like Kozhikode has a table-top airport, had left more than 150 people dead.
Singh pointed out that during the 2019 monsoon, there was a spate of runway excursions. Moneycontrol reported that 41 pilots had been suspended for their actions that led to 'serious  accidents.' That was a huge jump from just 11 suspensions over the same period in 2018.
"Instead of determining the root cause, the regulator decided to address the symptom. They cracked the whip and suspended more than 40 pilots. A proud regulator made a statement that cracking the whip worked and there were no SOP violations in December 2019," says Singh.
He listed the problems:
1. The policymakers have no understanding of risk analysis and safety management systems.
2. Investigations are flawed and no action is taken against the real culprits.
3. There are no human factor experts to understand why the error passes through all the barriers to end up in an accident.
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