New Delhi: Air India Express seriously lacked
engineering staff and did not have a permanent doctor at the
Mangalore airport to conduct pre-flight medical checks on the
pilots and the cabin crew operating flights from there, the
Court of Inquiry on Mangalore air crash was informed today.
"We are short of staff and for engineering work and
spares we are totally dependent on the Air India," a senior
Air India Express official said before the COI here.
The six-member Court of Inquiry was set up to find out
the causes of the crash of Air India Express flight IX-812
at Mangalore airport on May 22 while returning from Dubai,
killing 158 people.
Deposing before the COI, the official said that Air India
Express was promised by the parent company, National Aviation
Company of India Ltd (NACIL), that they would recruit the
staff for them "but till date we have got only three staff".
Air India Express is the low cost arm of the national
carrier which operates most of its flights to Gulf countries.
During the hearing, one of the members of COI observed
that the airline had not faced any major technical problems or
snag as the aircrafts were new but they should get the
adequate number of staff.
The budget carrier of Air India was lacking a permanent
doctor at the Mangalore`s Bajpe International airport before
the crash of IX-812.
"Though a doctor was appointed on contract basis he could
not continue due to distance from the city and odd working
hours," said L P Nakwa, Executive Director Personnel.
She admitted that Mangalore and Amritsar were the two
stations where no doctors were available for pre-flight
medical checks. But after the crash, one doctor has been
The CoI was also informed that due to ban on recruitment
of doctors by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the national
carrier does not have a permanent doctors on its roll.
"We have appointed doctors on contract, as the Ministry
has put a ban on permanent appointment. We have not recruited
any doctors on permanent basis since last 15 years," she said,
adding we have not got any written permission from the
Ministry to start the process for permanent recruitment.
She also said it was hard to find a doctor even on
contract basis, as the odd working hours was the biggest
problem for them. "We are not getting good response even after
advertising for the same."
She admitted that no medical records of the expat pilots
were kept with the airlines, as they were not governed by the
company rules and they have different rules related to medical
and other leaves.
On this, the COI observed that medical records of expat
pilots should be kept with the airlines so that it could be
referred in future.