Saturday, October 03, 2020

Airline vs whistle-blower pilot: B’luru court vacates injunc

Mumbai: In a major embarrassment to Air Asia India, a Bengaluru court has vacated the ex-parte injunction it had granted to the airline earlier restraining former pilot Capt Gaurav Taneja from criticising the airline on social media, as it pulled it up for suppressing the fact that the DGCA had already taken action against two officials based on Taneja’s complaint. 
 B Dileep Kumar, Senior Civil Judge and Judicial Magistrate First Class, Devanahalli, where Air Asia India is based, in its Monday order, dismissed the airline’s interim application seeking a further injunction against Taneja to refrain him from publishing or sharing any confidential and proprietary information about the airline terming it a breach of his contractual obligations. 
 Capt Taneja, who runs a popular YouTube channel called ‘Flying Beast’, is engaged in a legal battle with his former employer ever since he flagged safety lapses within the airline. Before he publicly spoke about the issues on his vlog in June, Capt Taneja had made a written complaint to the DGCA on June 5. Among other things, he had alleged the airline insisted that its pilots achieve a target of 98 per cent Flap 3 landings, giving priority to saving fuel over the safety of passengers. Flaps are part of an aircraft’s wings that are engaged to create a drag during landings and take-off. 
 Taneja was sacked by the airline on June 26. Following an inquiry, the aviation regulator had on August 10 suspended the Chief of Flight Safety and Director of Operations of the airline for their failure to ensure safety of fliers. In its interim application, Air Asia had contended that Taneja had breached his employment contract with the company signed in April 2019 as well as the nondisclosure agreement and ground communication policy by publishing and revealing confidential information and communications of the company and therefore it seeks further injunction. The court said it had not found any violation as alleged by the airline. It said that Taneja acted as per DGCA’s regulations. He intimated the airline, and when the company paid no heed to it, he filed a written complaint with DGCA. 
 03/10/20 BySatish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror
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