Meghalaya wants probe against pilots flouting norm

Alliance Air operates low-cost flights between Kolkata and other cities like Shillong in the northeast.

Shillong: The Meghalaya government on Friday demanded a thorough investigation into the alleged violation of air safety norms by two pilots of Alliance Air operating flights between Kolkata and Shillong.

"We have written to the Director General of Civil Aviation expressing our concern against violation of air safety norms by the two pilots of Alliance Air," Transport Minister Abu Taher Mondal said.

The civil aviation authorities must conduct a probe and if anyone is found guilty of violating the air safety norms, he should be punished, he said.

According to a New Delhi-based news channel, two pilots in Kolkata working for Alliance Air, a subsidiary of national carrier Air India, violated basic safety rules for the last three months putting the lives of many passengers at risk.

"Records from the airline show that on March 20, a pilot operating a flight from Shillong to Kolkata decided at the last minute to change the runway he would use to take-off. Close to 30 passengers were on board," the news channel said.

Records show there were strong winds near the airport. So the pilot decided to abandon Runway 04, used for virtually every plane taking off from Shillong, according to the report. The other Runway 22 - is very short and faces a range of hills, factors that could lead to a crash.

Alliance Air forbids its pilots from using Runway 22, a diktat the pilot allegedly ignored at the last minute, the report said.

The safety violation was noted by the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the Shillong airport but it did not file a complaint with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the regulatory body for all airlines.

In another case of a basic safety law being broken, an Alliance Air pilot, who has a serious medical condition, ignored precautions required of him in such conditions.

The news channel claimed to have medical records filed with the DGCA that show this pilot`s illness requires another pilot, trained on the same aircraft, to accompany him.

As per regulations, if the pilot has a medical emergency, there has to be someone equally experienced who can take over the controls.

But rosters for Alliance Air show this pilot has flown nearly 40 flights with at least 1200 passengers on board with a co-pilot not trained to operate a similar plane, the report said.

Alliance Air operates low-cost flights between Kolkata and other cities like Shillong in the northeast.


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