Sunday, March 14, 2021

Air safety violations decline 62% in 2020: Govt data

Mumbai: 2020 saw a sharp drop in reported air safety violations due to reduction in flights and curbs on breath analyser tests.

Around 250 aviation employees failed breath analyser tests in 2018 and 2019 and the cases declined to 92 in 2020. Similarly, there were zero cases of allowing unauthorised entry into cockpit and violation of cockpit and cabin discipline, the civil aviation ministry said in its response to the Lok Sabha last wee

Domestic air travel was suspended for two months during the nationwide lockdown. Air travel resumed in calibrated manner on May 25 with restrictions on capacity. As a result, the number of flights halved and the number of passengers fell 56 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

Along with reduction in flights, last year also saw restrictions on the use of breath analysers. A pre-flight test is done to ensure that staff are not under the influence of alcohol. While pilots and cabin crew have been subject to pre-flight examination from earlier, a breath analyser test was introduced for ground staff, aircraft engineers and air traffic controllers from September 2019.

Breath analyser tests were halted last March on directions of court orders. Testing resumed in September after the Delhi High Court modified its order. However, the number of tests for pilots and cabin crew were capped at ten per cent for domestic flights and only recently increased to 25 per cent.

Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Kumar said strict regulatory oversight has helped in making skies safer. “ We have been relentless in our endeavours to institute a strict system of accountability and it seems to have done the trick. We will continue with our efforts and shall ensure that coming years are safer and better for aviation safety.”

14/03/21 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

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