Air India and its Leh troubles: airline under DGCA probe along with GoAir

Aviation regulator DGCA may issue a notice to Air India and GoAir for operating flights to Leh in bad weather on June 26.

Sindhu Bhattacharya July 03, 2015 17:56:49 IST
Air India and its Leh troubles: airline under DGCA probe along with GoAir

Aviation regulator DGCA may issue a notice to Air India and GoAir for operating flights to Leh in bad weather on June 26.

Jet Airways, the only other airline with flights to Leh from Delhi, did not operate the flight that day citing bad weather at Leh. But two flights each of Air India and GoAir landed in dense cloud conditions and heavy rains between 6.30 and 9.30 am, violating safety norms as per 'Operations Circular 6 of 2002'. A senior DGCA official said today that an investigation has been launched into the incident.

The same official also reports of a pilots' union of Air India threatening to stop operations to Leh because  the DGCA investigation were false and under no condition will operations to Leh be suspended.

Air India and its Leh troubles airline under DGCA probe along with GoAir

Representational image. PTI

A small reminder: There has been an uproar over junior Home Minister Kiren Rijuju and the J&K Deputy Chief Minister delaying an Air India flight from Leh to Delhi on June 24, just two days before the incident on safety violation, where some passengers also had to be offloaded to accommodate the VIPs. This incident has already lead to massive outrage and a subsequent apology from the Government. The point being made here is that Leh operations seem to  be landing Air India in one controversy after another.

If DGCA finds Air India and GoAir guilty of safety violations, it would mean AI operated two flights with 107 and 119 total passengers and put their lives at risk; GoAir operated two flights with 166 and 185 passengers on board, risking their lives. The weather conditions on that day were of dense clouds and rain and two airlines seen at fault should have followed the example of Jet and suspended operations.

The DGCA official quoted earlier said suspending flights to Leh was not an option since that area already had limited connectivity. He said two commanders from Air India and GoAir each have been called for questioning. All the three airlines have been asked to revise their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which were found to be old, and all have been warned against operating under bad weather conditions.

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