The Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) has condemned police action in the incident of emergency landing of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s chartered aircraft. The BAOA has released a statement on the FIR against the operator and the pilots for criminal negligence.
The statement by BAOA says:
"BAOA feels deeply concerned that in one of the recent incidents involving a chartered flight for a senior political leader operated by one of our members Ligare Aviation, an FIR was lodged with the police against the operator and the pilots for criminal negligence,"
"Any attempt to use such incidents for political purpose is totally uncalled for, as it would result in avoidable stress on pilots involved in such VIP flights and adversely affect the flight safety environment of general and business aviation industry. We strongly urge all political parties to facilitate us maintain the highest level of flight safety standards in all charter flights".
Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had said that the operator's report found that the plane's autopilot mode had developed a snag and that the pilot had to shift to manual mode in order to complete the landing. The DGCA further pointed out that autopilot failure is not an uncommon occurrence. News agency ANI reports that the DGCA has now set up a two-member committee to probe the incident and a report is expected in the next three weeks.
On Thursday, a plane carrying the Congress President reportedly tilted to its left and violently shook while approaching the Hubali airport in north Karnataka. While the plane managed to land safely at around 1035 hrs, the Congress party was quick to allege that there was a conspiracy behind the mid-air scare. A police complaint was filed and Kaushal Vidyarthi, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, wrote a letter to DGP Neelmani N Raju in which he alleged that intentional tampering with the aircraft should not be ruled out while investigating the incident.