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Authorities mull pulling Kannur International Airport out of UDAN scheme

Thiruvananthapuram: In a major cause of concern, the company responsible for the construction of Kannur International Airport (KIAL) has recommended pulling out of the government’s UDAN scheme.

Earlier, domestic carriers Indigo and Spicejet have already procured permission for their operations from Kannur to over nine cities across the country.

The recommendations came after a meeting with the Airport Economic Regulatory to fix the tariff. It was observed that the airport cannot be categorised as a large airport if it was functioning under the UDAN scheme.

The airport is expected to be open for passenger traffic by September this year.

Responding to the submission by KC Joseph, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan informed the assembly that the recommendation will be discussed in the next board meeting.

“Indigo and Spiceject have been granted permission to operate over 24 services to Chennai, Bengaluru, Hubli, Hindan, Mumbai, Kochi, Goa and Thiruvananthapuram. Jet Airways and Go Air have procured International Aviation Licence to operate services to Damam and Abu Dhabi respectively from Kannur. Air India Express has plans to serve six Gulf countries from Kannur. Talks are underway with another 10 companies for their operations from KIAL.”

“However, the meeting with Airport Economic Regulatory to fix the tariff for international routes observed that under the UDAN scheme the Kannur airport cannot be categorised as ‘large airport’. In this situation the KIAL has requested its director board to release the airport from the UDAN scheme. This will be discussed in the next board meeting,” said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.


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Lessons to be Learnt from the Accident to B 200 Aircraft at Delhi Airport on 22 Dec 15.

Lessons to be Learnt from the Accident to B 200 Aircraft at Delhi Airport on 22 Dec 15.

Beechcraft Super King Air B-200 aircraft was involved in an accident on 22.12.2015 while operating a flight from IGI Airport, New Delhi to Ranchi. The flight was under the command of a CPL holder with another CPL holder as Second in Command. There were ten persons on board including two flight crew members. The aircraft was loaded with spare parts and equipment for the rectification of a Helicopter at Ranchi.

The weather at the time of accident at Delhi was foggy with visibility reported as 800 meters and winds of 3 knots. The previous METAR which was available with the flight crew mentioned visibility of 600 meters. The visibility was marginal and it is inferred that the marginal visibility was a contributory factor to the accident.

The aircraft was given take-off clearance from runway 28. Shortly after take-off, the aircraft progressively turned left with simultaneous loss of height. Finally it impacted terrain and came to final rest in the holding tank of the water treatment plant of the airport. There was post impact fire and the aircraft was destroyed. All passengers and flight crew were fatally injured.

It is learnt that the accident was caused due to engagement of the autopilot without selecting the heading mode by the flight crew just after lift-off (before attaining sufficient height) in poor foggy conditions and not taking corrective action to control the progressive increase in left bank; thereby, allowing the aircraft to traverse 180° turn causing the aircraft to lose height in a steep left bank attitude followed by the aircraft impacting the ground.

It appears that the flight crew were not confidant in their ability to operate this flight due to the poor foggy condition prevailing at the time of planned departure. With an understanding that immediately after take-off, autopilot will be engaged and the aircraft will fly away on the autopilot, the crew cancelled the taxi clearance and carried out the serviceability checks of the operation of (engagement/ disengagement) of the autopilot. The flight crew during discussion among themselves regarding the conduct of flight had decided to rotate after 120 knots (additional 10 knots) considering tail wind component of 06 knots. The take-off roll and rotation of the aircraft was carried out as discussed. Their decision to increase the rotation speed by 10 knots to allow for the tail wind of 06 knots itself shows that they were ignorant of the fact that the tailwinds do not affect the rotation speeds of the aircraft at all.

Just after lift-off, even without retracting the landing gear, the crew engaged the autopilot but did not engage the Heading Mode ‘of the autopilot. This hurried and non-standard action by the flight crew by engaging the auto-pilot immediately after lift-off reveals their eagerness to let the aircraft be flown by autopilot and underlines their inability to fly the aircraft manually until autopilot engagement height was achieved.

As per the Pilot Operating Handbook procedure, after lift–off and establishing of positive rate of climb, the landing gear is retracted. Thereafter the climb power is set and the autopilot should be engaged only after attaining the height of 500 feet AGL. Engagement of the autopilot without engaging the Heading Mode resulted in the aircraft turning left probably due to the existing left bank or inadvertent manual input by the flight crew at the time of engagement of the autopilot. The bank angle increased progressively and beyond 45 degrees, a situation the flight crew could not decipher because of their disorientation. After disengagement of the autopilot, probability exists that the flight crew had further increased the bank instead of taking corrective action to decrease the bank. This allowed the bank angle to increase beyond 45degree’s resulting in multiple altitude warning and stalling of the aircraft. The aircraft crashed after turning almost 180 Degrees from the direction of the take-off.

From the analysis of the accident Investigation Report, following lessons can be learnt:-

  • Involvement of Accountable Manager, Chief of Flight Safety.

As mentioned above, though in the Organisation chart it is specifically indicated that there will be Chief of SMS & Chief of Flight Safety with a full-fledged Department of Flight Safety, none was existing. From the discussions with the Officers who were designated as the Chief of Flight Safety in the present and past, it was noted that as and when any regulatory requirement arose, an Officer was nominated for the purpose. At times Officers have conveyed their unwillingness to the Accountable Manager & Alternate Accountable Manager on the work load grounds and not being trained on Flight Safety. The Chief of Flight Safety was interviewed by the DGCA officials for the post of the Chief of Flight Safety and the aspect of lack of training on flight safety was brought out. Approval was accorded for the Chief of Flight Safety for 06 months on the precondition of Flight Safety training.

The Organisation seems to suffer from Complacency which can be described as a loss of awareness of potential dangers. In the present case flying undertaken by the flight crew wherein both, the PF and the PM, were neither possessing adequate flying experience nor could mutually add or impart quality flying experience in the real sense of the terms. The combination of this flight crew was continued over other Type qualified Pilots in the Organisation. Therefore, though the numbers of flying hours flown by this flight crew were increasing, but whether it added to qualitative improvement in their flying skills is questionable? All this while, the highly experienced Examiner was meagrely rostered for the flights.

To conclude, there was non-existence of safety culture, non-existence of SMS and nil supervision of the operations at ground level.

The Safety & Quality Policies were existing on paper, but no documentary evidence existed to prove that effective procedures for implementation of these policies were followed.

 

Lessons Learnt.

  • Aviation is a serious business which has no place for complacency, casual and careless attitude. A proper Risk assessment must be carried out before undertaking any flight.
  • Lack of skill and knowledge about the aircraft, its systems, equipment , Manuals, SOP’s, Checks and procedures, Emergency Procedures , various charts, Spatial Disorientation and  Situation awareness  have led to many accidents. Hence, it is essential to address these areas of knowledge and skill.
  • Proper supervision and close monitoring of the performance and competence levels of the pilots is of paramount importance. The role of Supervisors, who should be knowledgeable, involved and competent, to ensure safety of operations, cannot be over emphasised.
  • It is the duty of the supervisors to ensure that the man, machine and mission are matched in a professional manner particularly during adverse weather conditions. The Supervisors should be held accountable for any lapses.
  • Ignorance or violation of SOP’s have caused number of accidents/incidents. SOP’s must be followed meticulously at all times.
  • Safety Management System is a proven process of managing risk and building Safety culture in an organisation. Hence, it must be implemented by all Operators in letter and spirit. The Accountable Manager/Executive should be held accountable for lapses in the sincere implementation of Safety Management System and any compromises on safety.
  • Proper training and competency of Accountable Manager, Chief of Operations and Chief of Flight Safety can go a long way in ensuring safety and efficiency of Aviation Operations.
  • The lack of proper Crew Resource Management was evident in the accident. It is imperative that Crew Members apply the knowledge about the CRM intelligently during flying operations and remain vigilant and situationally aware during conduct of Take Off and Approach, landing, particularly, since the margin of safety is low, during these phases of operations.

 


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DGCA probing altercation between AirAsia staff, passengers: Jayant Sinha

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is probing an incident in which passengers of an AirAsia India flight from Kolkata to Bagdogra got into an altercation with the airline staff after delay in departure, the civil aviation minister has said.

Some passengers on the AirAsia India flight had yesterday an altercation with the airline staff over deplaning them after the flight was delayed by over four hours, a passenger had claimed.

“DGCA is reviewing the incident and we will take appropriate follow up action,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a tweet.

Indian Oil Corporation Executive Director (West Bengal) Dipankar Ray, who was also travelling in the same flight, had complained of very “unprofessional and rude” behaviour from the airline staff.

“The flight was scheduled to depart at 9 am and was initially delayed by 30 minutes. After boarding, we kept sitting inside the aircraft for one-and-a-half hours with no food or water at all,” Ray told .

The flight captain then instructed all passengers to de- board without any explanation, he added.

When passengers refused to deboard due to heavy rains outside, the captain put the air-conditioning blower on full blast to hound the passengers out. It created a scary scene as heavy fog was created inside the plane and it was very suffocating,” Ray had said.

He further said that many women passengers started vomiting and children were crying.

When contacted, the AirAsia India issued a statement and accepted that the flight was delayed and expressed regrets.

“AirAsia India would like to confirm that flight I5583 from Kolkata to Bagdogra was delayed by 4.5 hours due to a technical requirement. AirAsia regrets the inconvenience caused to guests on account of this disruption and would like to reinstate that the airline always prioritises safety above all,” the company said.

“This is a normal occurrence on-board all aircraft when the air conditioning is operated in high humidity conditions,” the statement said.

The company also claimed that all the affected guests were offered refreshments and provided with alternate arrangements requested for.

Ray, however, countered that and said the airline had asked them to go to the food court in the airport after deplaning them and show the boarding passes to get food.

“When we reached the food court, they refused us. There was no communication from AirAsia at all. We had to pay. When we were boarding the flight second time, then they gave us one sandwich and a 250 ml water bottle. This is an unacceptable treatment,” he said.


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IndiGo remains top airline in India with 41% market share in May

Jet Airways (13.7% market share), Air India (12.8%), SpiceJet (12.3%) and GoAir made up the top five in India’s aviation sector, DGCA data showed

Mumbai: Low-fare airline IndiGo (Interglobe Aviation Ltd) retained its No.1 spot in terms of market share among India’s air passenger careers in May, carrying 4.85 million people during the month. The low-fare airline commanded a 40.9% market share in May, against 39.8% in April, and 41.2% in May 2017, regulatory data released on Tuesday showed.

The Naresh Goyal-controlled Jet Airways (India) Ltd came a distant second, with 13.7% market share, flying 1.63 million passengers during the month, data from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) showed.

National carrier Air India clocked 12.8% market share, carrying 1.52 million passengers, while SpiceJet, which registered 12.3% market share, carried 1.5 million passengers. Besides, GoAir carried 1.03 million passengers, AirAsia India 648,000, Vistara 471,000 and Jet Lite 182,000.

During May, SpiceJet clocked the highest passenger load factor at 94.8%, meaning nearly 95% of its seats were filled. IndiGo registered a load factor of 91%, while AirAsia India and GoAir registered 89.7% and 89.2%, respectively.

“In May 2018, we saw an overall growth of 3x (three times) in flight bookings as compared to the same period last year. We anticipate this growth to continue in the coming months,” said online travel portal Ixigo’s chief executive and co-founder, Aloke Bajpai, in a statement.

Despite the anticipated spike during the month, growth in comparison with the same period last year was only 17%, as opposed to 26% in April and 28% in March, due to the increase in fuel prices, and travel in particular sectors becoming expensive, said Bajpai.

The total number of passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-May 2018 was 5.71 crore, registering a growth of 22.69%, DGCA said.


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WHY PATNA AIRPORT IS A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN

New Delhi: Two planes of SpiceJet and Indigo suffered bird hits during landing at Patna’s Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport last Saturday, and both had to cancel their onwards journey.

The incident, though, is nothing out of the ordinary for the Patna airport. There are several factors that contribute to make the airport one of the most dangerous in the country.

Inadequate Runway
With a runway length of just 2,072 metres — of which 1,938 metres is for landing from the east and 1,677 metres for landing from the west— the Patna airport is prone to air disasters.

As per data from the Federal Aviation Administration, US, the adequate runway length required for a safe landing of Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s is 2,300 metres. These are the two major types of passenger planes that usually fly in and out of Patna airport.

Middle of the City
Unlike other cities where airports are located on the outskirts, Patna has its airport right in the middle. This makes the residential population extremely vulnerable.

Runway expansion too is impossible as the airport is sandwiched between the Patna Zoo and the Phulwari Sharif railway station. The trees in the zoo even act as a potential obstacle for aircrafts. Moreover, due to the surrounding trees, lots of birds fly near the airport. A clock tower with a height of 333 feet, a part of the Patna Secretariat, is another obstacle for planes during landing at the airport.

The airport handled 2,273 flights in April 2018, a considerable rise of 37.9 per cent over 1,648 flights for the same month in 2017.

The number of passengers has also increased. The airport handled more than 3.3 lakh passengers in April 2018, compared to 2.2 lakh in April 2017. In March this year, the airport was given the green light to function round the clock.

An operation-in-charge at the Patna airport told that “new parking space, fire station, and cargo complex will be built in the upcoming months to cater to the increasing population.”

In July 2000, Alliance Air Flight 7412 had crashed in a residential area in Patna resulting in the death of 51 passengers and crew members. Four people on the ground too were killed. The flight, incoming from Kolkata, scrapped through a few trees before crashing to the ground.


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Indian carriers are all fuelled up but have nowhere to land

New Delhi: India’s aviation growth is set to take a hit as key airports around the country have run out of preferred slots and parking space, putting the squeeze on the growth plans of domestic carriers. The problem is especially acute for newer carriers such as Vistara and AirAsia India, which are still in the initial phase of expansion and have been left with “undesirable” slots, experts said.

Airports in Mumbai and Delhi are only offering slots between 11 pm and 5 am. Pune and Goa are not offering slots for any new flights in the daytime. Airports in Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata do not have any new slots at peak timings– 6 am to 10 am in the morning and 5 pm to 9 pm in the evening. Airports in smaller towns and cities such as Jaipur, Jammu, Srinagar and Patna among others are not offering desirable slots either, frustrating domestic airlines.

Operators say they are working on improving efficiency and thus increasing flight movements. For instance, London’s Heathrow Airport had as many as 1,300 takeoffs and landings daily on average in 2017 from two runways while Delhi airport with three runways (two of them parallel to each other) had 1,259 movements in 2017-18.

“Some of the ongoing measures include maximising the airside capacity, increasing the efficiency of the airfield and working with AAI (Airports Authority of India) on training and procedure issues,” a spokesperson for Delhi International Airport Ltd said in an email.

The airport at Bengaluru is also trying to do the same.

Sudden jolt

“In order to keep pace with the growth, BIAL (Bangalore International Airport Ltd) ensures that we work with all airlines to ensure that their requirements are accommodated in the best possible manner,” said a spokesperson. Mumbai airport and state owned AAI did not respond to queries.

India isn’t alone in facing an airport crunch — the trend is visible all across the world. An International Air Transport Association (IATA) report in December 2017 said capacity is constrained at about 300 airports and is going to get more severe, as capacity addition is not in sync with growth. However, the problem is even more critical for a country like India where air travel is set to grow rapidly as the government looks to link smaller and less well-served areas under its regional connectivity programme.

Aviation analysts said the government needs to address the issue urgently.

“Airport infrastructure shortages are now a key structural risk for the aviation industry and the entire economy,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO and director at CAPA India, an aviation consultancy firm. “The Indian airport system urgently needs a complete overhaul or we expect that it will impact growth and Increase costs with complexities as airline operations will be spread across airports.”

An airline executive said that newer airlines such as Vistara and AirAsia India are worst hit.

“At Mumbai airport, older airlines have 97% of the slots and the rest 3% with the new carrier,” he said. “There is no slot to expand in Mumbai and the situation is similar at all key airports. This makes our expansion even more difficult.” AirAsia India does not fly to Mumbai.

At Delhi and Bengaluru, the older carriers have 89% and 86% of the total slots, respectively.

At Chennai and Pune airports, the figures are 93% and 91%, respectively.

Parking space is as tight. All airports, excluding Mumbai, have started work on building bays. AAI has firmed up plans to add 273 parking bays at 24 airports to help resolve parking woes.

Mumbai, which is full to capacity, is getting a new airport at Navi Mumbai that’s expected to be ready by the end of 2019.

“Barring Mumbai, all airport operators are building parking bays but there are no early morning slots available from those airports,” said a senior airline executive.

“So, many of these parking bays may not be of any use if there are no slots in the morning to fly out our planes from these airports.”

Aviation ministry officials acknowledged the problem but said the solution lies in building new airports and upgrading existing ones.

“We have approved various airports projects across the country,” said a senior aviation ministry official. “The problem should ease when these airports come up. In the meantime, we are also looking at upgrading our existing assets so that they are able to handle more planes.” With no solution in sight, airlines are planning more night-time flights. IndiGo said it plans a so-called red-eye flight out of Mumbai at a meeting held in the ministry to discuss infrastructure issues. “But considering no city in India, barring Mumbai, has a night life it will be difficult to fill flights at these hours,” said the ministry official cited above.


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✈Interesting Facts about Airports, Airlines and Air Traveling.

  1. All International Airline Pilots speak English.
  2. Flights longer than 8 hours require 3 pilots (1 captain and 2 first officers) to rotate flying duties. Flights longer than 12 hours require 4 pilots (1 captain and 3 first officers). They usually fly 3-4 hour shifts.
  3. Each airline pilot flying the aircraft, eats a different meal to minimize the risk of all pilots on board being ill.
  4. The height requirement for Flight Attendant is for safety reasons, making sure that all flight attendants can reach overhead safety equipment.
  5. An air traveler can lose approximately 1.5 liters of water in the body during a three-hour flight.
  6. The reason why the lights are turned out during takeoff and landing Is for your eyes to adjust to lower levels of light.
  7. The World’s largest Airline in terms of Fleet Size is Emirates airline (United Arab Emirates) with 744 aircraft and 121 aircraft on order.
  8. The largest passenger plane is the Airbus 380 – nearly 240 feet long, almost 80 feet high, and has a wingspan of more than 260 feet. The double-decker plane has a standard seating capacity of 555 passengers for Emirates airline.
  9. The Internet/On-Line check-in was first used by Alaskan Airlines in 1999.
  10. The world’s Largest Airport is Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan (as of 2011). By 2019 Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates is planned to be the largest airport in the world.
  11. The airport with the longest runway in the world is Qamdo Bangda Airport in the People’s Republic of China with 5.50 kilometers in length.
  12. Singapore Airlines spends about $700 million on food every year and $16 million on wine alone. First class passengers consume 20,000 bottles of alcohol every month and Singapore Airlines is the second largest buyer of Dom Perignon champagne in the world.
  13. KLM of Netherlands stands for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (meaning Royal Dutch Airlines).
  14. KLM is the worlds’ oldest airline established in 1919.
  15. QANTAS – Australia’s national airline, originally stood for Queensland and Northern Territories Air Service.
  16. QANTAS is the second world’s oldest airline established in 1920.
  17. QANTAS still has the world’s best safety record with no crashes.
  18. Virgin Atlantic lists catering as their third biggest expense, after fuel and maintenance.
  19. In one year, British Airways passengers consume: 40.5 tons of chicken, 6 tons of caviar, 22 tons of smoked salmon, 557,507 boxes of chocolate and 90 thousand cases (9 liter cases) of sparkling wine.

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Air India flight does an emergency landing at Udaipur

Air India flight going from Rajkot to Delhi had to make an emergency landing at Udaipur’s Maharana Pratap Airport on 16 June 2018. As reported by sources, Air India flight met with sudden technical fault at around 8:12 a.m. It had to do an emergency landing at Udaipur Airport.

There were 104 passengers aboard and held their breath until the flight landed safely. All passengers are safe. Engineers have started technical investigations of the flight.


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Boeing, Air India join hands to train AMEs

MUMBAI: Boeing and Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) on Thursday, 14 June 2018 kicked off a first-of-its-kind, one-year accelerated Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Apprenticeship Programme in India.

The programme, part of the the government’s skill development initiative, will be run as a finishing school and conducted at the Air India engineering facility in Kalina. It will also include working on an operational Boeing aircraft.

Boeing has set up a smart classroom for the first batch of 25 students and come equipped with advanced training aids, along with a customised curriculum created by Boeing experts to skill Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs).

“Students will be instructed by qualified Air India instructors who have been trained by Boeing in the U.S. The AMEs will also get exposure on a Boeing aircraft, which will help them hone their maintenance skills and increase their employ-ability,” Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India, said.

Wings of desire:The students of apprenticeship programme pose for a photograph with Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha at Air India hangar, Kalina, on Thursday.Soubir Ghosh

Wings of desire:The students of apprenticeship programme pose for a photograph with Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha at Air India hangar, Kalina, on Thursday.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, who inaugurated the programme, termed it a milestone for Boeing’s skill India initiatives. “Hands-on experience on an aircraft, a state-of-the-art classroom with a world-class curriculum will help AMEs,” he said.

Boeing and AIESL came together after realising that a lack of practical training has resulted in low employ-ability of AMEs, of which only 2% receive type-rated licences. “To fill this gap, we announced the programme in 2017. It has received over 1,300 applications for the entrance examination which was held online across 10 cities in India,” Mr. Kumar said.

Marc Allen, president, Boeing International, said the aircraft manufacturer is proud to be a partner in this initiative in one of the fastest growing civil aviation markets in the world. “We are committed to helping catalyse the growth of special skills needed for the Indian aerospace ecosystem, and create a capable workforce.”

H.R. Jagannath, CEO, AIESL, said the collaboration will create many opportunities. “This brings together a best-in-class curriculum and training aids to create a state-of-the-art smart class setting, which will create a stronger pool of skilled AMEs,” he said.

Classes for the first batch will begin in August.


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Indian Aviation Story: The ‘Growth’ is in fact a Tumour that will kill

Indian Aviation is continuing to be fastest growing Aviation markets in the world and the IATA predicts that India will displace the UK to the Third Spot in the Global Aviation Market by 2025 just next to China and the United States. IATA analysed this only with the data it has on the traffic without actually checking on the state of Aviation Safety. Will Indian Aviation survive until 2025 or will this bubble burst before that……?

Unlike the Stock Market bubble, the Aviation is not actually a bubble, but the India story is a bubble because nobody tried to analyse the reason for this growth and if the environment is conducive to sustain that growth. With liberalization Indian markets opened up and so did its population. India has half of its population worried about its next meal and yet we are growing almost in all spheres. The reason: 5% of its population can afford almost anything. 5% of India’s population is almost the entire population of many countries. When India’s other mode of long distance transport (trains) was crumbling and when Air travel was getting cheaper with the LCC carriers, this growth was bound to happen. it was just the natural consequence of the ballooning population.

The uneasy questions are just begining to pop up. The first point is on AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE: There are no airport slots available in the metros. All of them have reached saturation points for any further growth. So when the PM ambitiously declares open the UDAAN scheme (regional connectivity), it doesn’t take off because one end of regional connectivity has to be a metro and there are no slots available!!! looks like the PM and the Civil Aviation Minister of the Country are not briefed by the bureaucrats sitting in the ministry. The Ambitious plans and announcements of the PM and the Minister is just for the press. So the immediate question is does India have the capability of adding more Airports or expanding the existing ones? The answer again is a big NO. Just take a look at the geographical area of US and China, India is one third their size and this means that space is an issue, both on ground and on air. China and India are both populous, but the density of population is much higher in India. Migration from the villages is resulting in density getting slowly concentrated into the metros and Tier II and III cities. This means most Airports that has traffic also has dense populations. Take for eg. Mumbai. The Airport is enveloped by slums on all ends and no political party want to ruffle the vote banks. So they find some space in the ‘Navi Mumbai’ and announce a ‘greenfield’ airport there. India has another major problem and that is CORRUPTION. so the moment the declaration is done, the Land mafia (mostly controlled by politicians) goes on a buying spree and the Real Estate builders are quick to build huge towers. The officer of the Planning authority publicly states that they will commission this ‘greenfield airport’ with a ‘displaced threshold’ to its runways!! He certainly has no idea what it means and is only parroting what has been told to him. But what is the underlining fact is that there cannot be any Airport Infrastructure built in this Country that meets minimum ‘safety’ standards.

When we speak of Airport infrastructure, it also has to include the AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES. the AAI is both owner of most Airports in India and they exclusively provide AT Services. Again CORRUPTION plays havoc. The equipment purchases necessarily has an element of corruption that many OEM’s stay away from India. Space is again an issue as these sensitive equipment have to be perfectly located and the tall buildings around virtually make it difficult to give a proper ‘sitting’ place for these Equipment. There are not enough AT officers available. Merit has no place. People with no integrity find it easier to move up the ladder and the one with the capability and commitment remain harassed. The heights for buildings is approved by the AT Services and corruption allows any building to come up. The ministry has even found a way to democratize (or say inclusiveness) the corruption and have formed an “Appellate Committee for Height Clearance” which has members from the Regulator DGCA and a bureaucrat from the MoCA to ensure all players get their share of the loot. In short, every airport in the country is plagued by ‘obstacles’ and the more dangerous part of this is that the AAI has not even provided information about these obstacles in the Maps. The ATCO’s have been complaining about the equipment, erratic duty hours, lack of proper accommodation and if anyone take a look at the ‘air prox’ data, will clearly know that Indian Aviation is living on the edge. India had witnessed one of the worst mid air collision and yet we do not learn from it. What is worst is that ‘air prox’ data is under reported and so is the accident / incident data.

Then comes the issue of Aircraft maintenance. Boeing and Airbus are very happy with the Indian market that they are more than willing to lobby for India at the EASA, FAA or the ICAO so that these agencies close their eyes to violation of Air Regulations. Recently, just one air carrier (indigo) had over a 100 cases of engine failures and yet the Regulator did not ground the fleet until the defects were fixed. Though this is just a phase in every new introductions, what is worrisome is the fact that the Regulator is lax at looking into Safety issues. Airbus and Boeing very well are aware that the Maintenance engineers in India are grossly underpaid and overworked. it is only a question of time before an aircraft will be brought down by a maintenance related issue. The cries of the overworked workers at the MRO’s are not heard, the DGCA has been systematically eliminating the AME schools in India and when India has another 500 Aircrafts joining the existing fleet of the Airlines, we do not even know where and how are we going to produce the class of workers called the AME’s. its a pathetic story of corruption in every sphere. The DGCA is so grossly corrupt that their officers have started to feel that the ‘under the table’ money is something that rightly belongs to them. These DGCA officers have nothing to do with Aviation, they are occupying the seats they sit in because of the fact that they joined the Regulator as a clerk and were regularly promoted under the government rules and schemes. Their own Audits of airports or airlines are repeatedly showing dangerous levels of non compliance and yet it doesn’t bother them because they are more interested in writing reports than ensuring Safety. Their letters and communications are just intended to save their backs when an accident or incident happens.

When the Aircrafts and when the maintenance of these aircrafts are not taken care off…comes India’s next problem. The PILOTS. There is a global shortage of pilots and unlike any other place, the DGCA came out with a unique plan for India. they imposed a notice requirement of one year for pilots who resign. Add to this, the gross violation of FDTL norms. Each pilot is pushed beyond his capability and it is only a question of time when a ‘tired’ pilot will bring his aircraft down. There is a serious issue of trust that is plaguing the pilot community that they cannot even come together and organise themselves. Add to this the fact that the pilots do not get paid promptly for their work as the financial situation of airlines are getting worst by the day. The worrisome part is that many pilots in India are depressed and some of them are on anti depressants and none of them have made a declaration with either the Airlines or the Regulator for the fear of losing jobs. A ‘German wings’ is certainly in the making in India…. The situation of pilot schools are no different from that of AME schools. corruption rules the roost. Most pilots, just because of the huge costs involved in flying schools come from the elite class though there are some on scholarships and some coming after taking huge loans. Earlier, the Airlines used to spend money and train, these days pilots pay for everything and over all these they even write bonds.

So when the Regulator becomes so powerful without accountability and manages to get silence from the stakeholders, the future of Indian Aviation is not the story of a growth, it is a tumour, a cancerous one which will kill. The pilots do not raise voice for the fear of losing their livelihood, the AME’s don’t raise voice for the fear of losing their livelihood, the Flying schools, the AME schools , the Airlines don’t raise voice because of the fear of losing their businesses.

The Picture I have put is of a lady who will be the face that will put everyone to shame. This is one lady who stood up against corruption. she stood up against her own organisation against all odds. Her voice is not being heard. She is the Aviation Safety officer of the Western Region of the AAI. she was fired by the Chairman of AAI, himself a corrupt man. She is being made an example for all those who will show the guts to stand up. She was fired, her husband is under suspension and even the subsistence allowance which is mandatory to be paid under Indian laws is not paid to her …..all this when she has a special child. Once a disaster strikes Indian Aviation, she will be a voice heard by all, she will be a face that cannot be forgotten by any. I am just showing her face now so that all of you who read this knows what it is…….

I am the only one who has taken on the most corrupt organisation in this Country. the DGCA is without doubt the most corrupt, their officers either corrupt or incompetent, and the DGCA will single handedly bring down Indian Aviation. My voice is getting heard in the four walls of the Indian Judiciary which is painfully slow. I always say that my fight is a race against time and i always say that an air accident is inevitable in India or involving Indian carriers. No one hears my warning, people whose lives are at stake love to remain ignorant because in India we make noises only after the tragedy and none to avert them…..

So if anyone thinks Indian Aviation story is a growth story, it certainly is, but the only fact is that the growth is a tumour and cancerous and it will kill….how many will it kill is something that time will tell…….but an aircraft going down in a city like Mumbai will certainly make Chernobyl or a Bhopal look so small…..BRACE FOR IMPACT


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