Tuesday, August 11, 2020

AirAsia India head of operations, air safety head suspended over safety norms

Mumbai: Two AirAsia India top officials, Capt Manish Uppal, head of operations and Capt Mukesh Neema, head of air safety have been suspended for a period of three months by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for alleged safety violations.

Director General of Civil Aviation, Arun Kumar confirmed the development. Under the regulator’s norms, appointments to crucial posts like airline-head of airsafety, head of operations are cleared by the DGCA.

AirAsia India had come under the DGCA scanner in June after one of its pilots, Captain Gaurav Taneja, posted a 27 minute video on his YouTube channel (Flying Beast), alleging that the airline had been violating certain safety norms in order to cut fuel costs. In a tweet, he alleged that he was placed under suspension by AirAsia India “for standing up for safe operations of aircraft and its passengers”.

The tweet went viral, following which the DGCA began a probe into the allegations and later in June, issued a show cause notice to Capt Uppal, Capt Neema and the CEO of the airline. Meanwhile, on June 26, Capt Taneja was terminated by the airline. ``He was terminated following an inquiry conducted by officials, including Capt Neema, the very person against whom Capt Taneja had made allegations,’’ said advocate Yeshwant Shenoy, one of Capt Taneja’s lawyers.

AirAsia India spokesperson was not reachable for comment.

"Pilots are always afraid to raise issues, especially in these times of job insecurities due to the COVID pandemic’s impact on the airline industry. I’ve always been telling them that if they stand up for safety violations, it will have to be addressed by the system. This is the best example of that,” said Shenoy.
11/08/20 Times of India
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