Passengers of an airline in financial trouble have reason to worry a little more about flight safety. In India, it’s common knowledge that most airlines are in the red. Of late, reports of near-hits, landing mishaps and dangerous miscommunication between pilots and ground control have also been frequent. Both have contributed equally to passengers’ fears. What’s less known—and cause for greater worry—is that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), responsible for overseeing aviation safety, is itself a distressed organisation: 528 of the 924 posts at DGCA lie vacant. So at a time when most airlines need watching, the airline safety controller is woefully short-staffed. Part of the problem, says Arun Mishra, the current director general, is that there aren’t any recruitment rules for 427 posts in job Groups A, B and C, created in 2009. Recruitment rules for some other posts too, he says, need amendment.
Industry experts say the DGCA staff crunch raises huge questions about aviation safety in the country. Last year, the US Federal Aviation Administration had threatened to downgrade India in its international aviation safety assessment programme. The chief reason: DGCA’s staff shortage. Some even say the shortage is responsible for pilots with fake licences getting jobs. “The shortage has been critical for some time now and needs urgent action if efficiency has to be maintained,” says a former pilot and aviation safety expert. “All airlines will try to cut corners when finances are bad and it is the DGCA’s job to be watchful.”
“The CAA framework will help the regulator recruit flight safety inspectors and other employees by offering competitive pay. We require more staff at DGCA for examining flight safety and other training requirements. After the creation of CAA, we’ll be able to do that,” Venugopal told the Rajya Sabha. The sooner that happens, the less worried airline passengers will be.
Close calls midair, more often than you knew
Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh recently said that, in the last three years, 65 “incidents of two or more moving aircraft coming in proximity” took place over Indian skies. The minister could be way off target: air traffic records for 2011 from Mumbai airport (left) alone show 54 incidents. Experts say officials fudge data to avoid penal salary cuts and that such fudging has been on for at least four years. Lack of oversight by DGCA is also being blamed.
Decision making processes are getting calcified.
Why does nt MMSs government train more pilots?
Planes coming into close proximity is a problem in all of the World's major airspaces, and is by no means a reflection of sloppy safety procedures. Most modern aircraft are equipped with devices like TCAS to prevent any major disaster which could happen due to two planes coming too close.
I wonder, how the Govt.of India in Civil Aviation department can ignore these glaring facts, directly raising the question of passengers` safety while they opt travelling by Indian Airlines and others catering domestic and international air traffic. It perplexes badly just imagining - how the authorities responsible can overlook said red alarming situation all the more. I would appeal to the Hon`ble Appex Court (SC) through this esteemed magazine to take up this issue suo- moto in the public interest as also in the interest of nation and compel the Govt. to set right the things completely in order, in view of the fact that the Govt.does not apper giving serious attention to the issue.
Now a days, things under the Govt. in bad shape are brought in order by Hon`ble Courts only.
I suppose this may be one of the reasons ( putting a serious question on safety of air travelers while on flight ) that Indian Air lines are facing critical finncial crunch,there being no adequate passengers traffic.
The Directorate General of Shipping is little different. India must be the only country where an individual applies for a licensing examination after completing the necessary training and then has to wait several months because ther aren't enough seats in the examination hall. This is followed up by an interminable wait for results to be declared.
Further, I would be grateful if anyone can point me to one meaningful accident investigation report produced by DG Shipping. All major maritime countries have independent accident investigation boards. Not here. The same bureaucrats whose inefficiency contributes to accidents investigate themselves. In the last three or four years there have been two major collisions in the approaches to Bombay harbour in waters ostensibly monitored and controlled by a Traffic Management System. What corrective measures were taken after the first accident and has anything been done after the second? To the best of my knowledge, the answer is NOTHING.
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