Monday, August 10, 2020

Retired DGCA official had warned Air India management of accident risk

Mumbai: Air India needs to change its attitude towards safety or else will head to a disaster, a retired Directorate General of Civil Aviation official had warned the airline management last August.
A K Chopra, who served as joint director general in the DGCA was appointed as safety adviser to the Air India chairman in November 2018. He left the post last August after the airline terminated his contract. Chopra had flagged off concerns about engineering, flight safety, operations and training standards in the airline and its subsidiaries warning the company management of grave safety risk.

"We have been lucky in the recent past, but safety can not be left to providence/luck. Next time luck may not be on our side. Air India needs to change its attitude towards safety," Chopra wrote in an August 20 email to the airline's chairman Ashwani Lohani and its senior management.
The letter has come into spotlight in the wake of the Air India Express accident at Kozhikode last Friday. Eighteen persons, including two pilots, were killed after Boeing 737 aircraft overshot the table top runway.

In his email, Chopra pointed out that flight safety department of the airline was working in isolation and was at loggerheads with all other departments. Incident investigations were being delayed and recommendations were biased, he said, calling for an independent audit of the flight safety department of the airline and replacement of its chief of flight safety, who did not meet regulatory requirements for the post.
Engineering and training issues also came under scanner. With the shortage of funds, Air India has not been properly planning for major maintenance and overhaul of planes ane engines. "Crisis management in the maintenance organisation must be stopped," Chopra said.
11/08/20 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard
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