Saturday, July 30, 2022

Air travel is safe and safety non-negotiable, says DGCA DG Arun Kumar

Indian aviation regulator means business and safety is non-negotiable, Indian aviation regulator chief Arun Kumar told CNBC-TV18 in an exclusive interview.

“There is a bit of hype and unnecessary hoopla around normal events. Several times, a reject take-off or missed approach is actually a safety manoevure and enhances safety. Air travel is absolutely safe and our record is terrific,” Directorate General of Civil Aviation Director General Arun Kumar said.

The regulator keeps a regular tab on the Indian airlines  via annual surveillance plan, spot checks, night surveillance and cockpit surveillance so that only airworthy aircraft are in operation, Kumar added.

“Annual surveillance programme is the backbone of safety oversight,” Kumar said.

A total of 177 surveillance, 497 spot checks and 169 night surveillance have been carried out by DGCA on engineering and maintenance aspects of scheduled operators during the last one year between July 2021 and June 2022.

Based on the violations found during surveillance, spot checks, night surveillance carried out during 2021-22, enforcement action has been taken by DGCA against responsible personnel of an airline in 21 instances of violations.

“Aircraft is a complex sturdy machine with lakhs of components and its usage is very rigorous. India has a very young fleet and their flight dispatch reliability is one of the best in the world. Once in a while, technical snags are possible and a standard operating procedure as per globally approved norms is followed in case of any technical snag,” Kumar said.

“Passengers affected via flight diversions or delays won't be happy but safe navigation is our priority. As per last one year data, one aircraft sees 0.6 snag in a year. There may be 1-2 technical incidents in a day across 6000 flight movements. A pilot has to be alert and attentive when it comes to any sign of technical snags. Many times, an indicator for a technical snag may be false but a pilot has to respond to that as well as per SOP,” Kumar added.

He further said that technical glitches can and do happen in Indian aircraft as well as in foreign registered aircraft. In fact, there have been five technical glitches in foreign airlines reported over the last five days.

“Countries globally face technical snag incidents in aircraft, India is not an exception. We guarantee safety by following SOP and processes prescribed. Technical glitches in aircraft are not a matter to lose sleep over or to panic about. Technical snags will happen and we have to handle them with maturity. The hullabaloo over technical glitches in aircraft is unjustified,” Kumar said.

The matter of air safety has come into focus over the last month after multiple incidents of technical glitches were reported across airlines including SpiceJet, GoFIRST, IndiGo, Air India, Vistara and Air India Express related to engine glitches, windshield crack, smoke in cabin, equipment malfunction among others.

30/07/22 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

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