Two senior executives of AirAsia India have been suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for alleged safety violations. Captain Manish Uppal, Head of Operations, and Captain Mukesh Neema, Head of Flight Safety, have been suspended for a period of three months after former AirAsia captain and popular Youtuber Gaurav Taneja made a video alleging violations of safety norms by the low-cost carrier, reports India Today.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspends Captain Manish Uppal, the Head of Operations, Air Asia and Captain Mukesh Neema, Chief of Flight Safety, Air Asia, over safety violations by Air Asia. pic.twitter.com/ysTSAjW6ui
— ANI (@ANI) August 11, 2020
The airline had come under the scanner after one of its pilots, Gaurav, posted a video on his channel called the ‘Flying Beast’, claiming that they had been violating few safety norms in order to cut fuel costs, reports TOI. After DGCA began a probe into the allegations, a show-cause notice was sent to Capt Uppal and Capt Neema. However, at the same time, Capt Taneja was also suspended by the airline.
— Gaurav Taneja (@flyingbeast320) June 14, 2020
As the former captain’s tweet about being suspended by AirAsia India “for standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers” went viral, DGCA initiated a swift probe and subsequently suspended the two top AirAsia officials. A former IIT-Kharagpur graduate, Capt Taneja had joined AirAsia India in May 2019. Over time, he felt that the airline was following certain practices that were detrimental to flight safety.
DGCA has taken note of the concerns raised by some stakeholders against a particular Airline and its approach to safety. DGCA has already started an investigation into the issues flagged and shall take appropriate action based on the outcome of the said investigation.
— DGCA (@DGCAIndia) June 15, 2020
That he is why he started raising safety issues on the airline’s official WhatsApp group for its pilots regularly. He also took up the matter with higher authorities. Gaurav then went on to post a video on his channel titled “Reasons behind suspension from my pilot job” where he spoke in detail about the two unsafe practices followed by the airline.
He alleged that pilots who availed of sick leave in AirAsia India had to forgo the weekly leaves that followed. He was quoted saying, “The policy discouraged pilots from calling in sick when they are unfit to fly, especially if they had made plans for the day when their weekly off was scheduled.”
Secondly, he also alleged that the airline had asked its pilots to do 98 percent of their landings in the “Flap 3” mode, which allows it to save fuel, reports the Indian Express. He said if a pilot didn’t do the the “Flap 3” landings, the airline would consider it a violation of its standard operating procedure (SOP).
He explained his issue with the “Flap 3” landing by giving an example of the Imphal airport, where the plane descends more steeply as compared to other airports when approaching for landing. He mentioned that the aircraft needs to have a drag so that it remains slow while coming down steeply, and only in these circumstances, a pilot should do a “Flap full” landing.
Capt Muralidas, Management pilot at @AirAsiaIndian. Sent me emails for 98% flap 3 target. Look at his track record. Is the boss @mauppa aware about this corruption or is a part of it ? https://t.co/U2fXEA7oBs
— Gaurav Taneja (@flyingbeast320) June 17, 2020
Gaurav received ample support online. After the AirAsia officials were suspended, #BurnolForAirAsia started trending on twitter:
This was damn hilarious! 😂
— parakh dua (@Parakh_Dua) August 11, 2020
When you don't bother about safety and harrass the one's who standa for the public this happens, hope our gift helps to reduce the pain @AirAsia @flyingbeast320 #BurnolForAirasia #AirasiaisUnsafe #flyingbeast pic.twitter.com/Do9ubxNvh8
— Saptadip Nandi Chowdhury (@nandi_saptadip) August 11, 2020
— Satyam Sendha (@satyamsendha) August 11, 2020
— Pranay (@Pranaynagpure23) August 11, 2020
You can watch the former pilot’s video here. Well, the safety of passengers should always come above everything else. What do think about the entire incident? Tell us!