Out on a wing – On Issues Faced by Indian Airlines

Source: The post is based on an article “Out on a wing” published in the Business Standard on 8th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 Infrastructure, Transportation Sector

Relevance: issues in Indian Aviation industry

News: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet airline for its “failure to establish safe, efficient and reliable” services.

In recent months, SpiceJet aircrafts have witnessed eight malfunctions in 18 days. Consequently, the aircrafts either had to turn back or land at their destination “with degraded safety margin”.

In addition to the above, the SpiceJet airline also suffered three technical problems in 24 hours, recently.

SpiceJet is not the only airline that is facing such problems. In Recent days, aircraft of Vistara, the Tata-Singapore Airline-owned carrier, suffered engine failure on landing in Delhi from Bangkok.

Is the DGCA’s move rationale?

As per some experts, three technical glitches do not amount to a crisis. On an average, 30 incidents of go-arounds, diversions, technical snags and medical emergencies occur in a day, but few of them have safety implications.

The DGCA took a long time to take action. Further, it has restricted itself to a show-cause notice that does not prevent the carrier from continuing operations.

What are the causes behind slipping safety standards?

This has happened because the aircraft carriers are following challenging turnaround times, i.e. one after another flight within a short period of time. This is being done to maximize profits after a pandemic-induced slowdown.

Further, the expansion of Indian domestic airlines for international operations is adding a burden upon them.

What should be done?

As per the Civil Aviation Minister, even the smallest error hindering safety should be investigated and course correction measures should be taken soon.

The DGCA should impose more vigilance measures and stringent consequences on airlines for such incidents, even if they do not result in casualties.

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