New Delhi: Flying is, perhaps, the shortest and the best way to reach your destination on time. But while flying, do you always feel safe or fear grips you thinking anything could happen up there in the air or while landing? After all, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation watchdog, in a compiled report in December 2012, had ranked India amongst the 13 worst-performing countries in terms of aviation safety parameters.
Moreover, as per a report in a leading English daily, aviation safety experts have alleged that Indian carriers tend to underplay major incidents as minor with the ‘help’ of the aviation regulator and continue with their duty putting the safety of passengers at risk.
The experts also alleged that the tradition of airline officials joining the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was causing conflict of interest and harming the airlines and their safety in the process.
Mohan Ranganathan, an air safety expert and a member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, in a letter to Civil Aviation Secretary KN Srivastava in February, is reported to have alleged that the Indian airlines were conniving with the regulator to downplay incidents as minor despite that fact that such incidents could have had catastrophic outcomes.
The letter is also reported to have stated that the practice of recruiting engineers from the industry to examine the aircraft was resulting in the conflict of interest and thus affecting the safety of the airlines.
Perhaps, what is interesting to note here is that in January, Air India was ranked the third worst airline in terms of safety after China Airlines and TAM Airlines.
It may also be recalled that on November 10, 2012, one of Jet Airways’ aircraft had a rough landing.
"This is one more instance of Jet Airways covering up a deficiency in connivance with air safety department of DGCA," Ranganathan is reported to have said in the letter. "This is the fourth serious event involving a Jet Airways ATR and all of them are covered up as incidents," he wrote.
Another instance was in March, 2012 when the nose wheel of the aircraft broke while landing in Chandigarh.
Ranganathan is also reported to have cited various other incidents involving Jet Airways and Indigo flights in the letter.
First Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 10:23