Thursday, August 13, 2020

Air India Express crash: Why safety experts are not confident about government's AAIB probing the Kozhikode accident

Soon after the Air India Express IX1344 crash in Kozhikode on August 7, Ministry of Civil Aviation announced an investigation under the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau or the AAIB.

The investigation is important, not just to understand what led to the aircraft overrunning the aircraft, breaking into two, causing the death of 18 people, including the two pilots; but also to recommend changes that will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

But the announcement of the AAIB investigation has not been welcomed by all. Instead, many have called for the government to set up a court of inquiry. Is the demand justified?
The Bureau was set up in 2012, in accordance with Section 7 of the Aircraft Act 1934 (India) that empowers the government to make rules for investigation of accidents. It operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The recommendation to set up an investigating agency came from the Court of Inquiry that was formed to look into the 2010 Mangalore crash, which has been compared to the tragedy in Kozhikode on many counts of similarly.

The Court of Inquiry had suggested that the new agency should be in the lines of the National Transport Safety Board, the American body that looks into accidents in the US.

"This independent body will help in focusing on all the flight safety-related issues so as to make timely recommendations to DGCA and Ministry of Civil Aviation for speedy implementation. The recommended pro-active measures will help in minimising accidents and incidents. Such an independent organisation is much needed in view of the rapid growth of aviation in the country including general aviation," the court of inquiry noted.
13/08/20 Prince Mathews Thomas/
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