DGCA has suspended two senior executives at AirAsia for three months, following a probe initiated by the India's air safety regulator after a former pilot flagged safety concerns at the airlines.
Captain Gaurav Taneja, a popular Youtuber and former AirAsia pilot had tweeted on June 14 that he has been suspended by AirAsia India "for standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers". He later made a
YouTube video titled "Reasons behind suspension from my pilot job" and explained how airline was saving fuel by putting passengers lives at risk.
Taneja alleged that the airline has asked its pilots to do 98 per cent of landings in "Flap 3" mode, which allows it to save fuel. Flaps are part of wings of an aircraft and they are engaged to create a drag during a landing or a take-off.
Taneja gave the example of the Imphal airport, where the plane descends more steeply as compared to other airports when approaching for landing. He said when an aircraft is coming down steeply, it needs to have a drag so that it remains slow, and in these circumstances a pilot has to do a "Flap full" landing.
"In order to achieve targets, what would people do? They will do Flap 3 landings without giving consideration whether it is safe or unsafe. This directly impacts the passenger safety," he had claimed in his YouTube video. "If something happens during a Flap 3 landing, then the question would be asked to the pilot if he or she cares more about saving fuel or 180 passengers" lives, Taneja had said.
He also raised concerns over some personnel policies including the way in which sick leaves were accounted for by the airline.
Following the complain, a probe was initiated and the suspension was ordered after ascertaining the facts and conducting an enquiry, said Arun Kumar, chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The move comes days after the crash of an Air India Express flight which killed 18 of 190 people onboard.
When asked about it, the airline's spokesperson said, "AirAsia India acknowledges the receipt of the notice from DGCA last month and has complied with the directions of the regulator and appointed interim post holders in accordance with the regulator's directions." AirAsia India prioritises safety above all and it continues to engage with the authorities and exercise the option to appeal for redressal, the spokesperson added.
With inputs from Agencies
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