Sunday, September 29, 2013

Will the Directorate General of Civil Aviation be able to save its face on October 23?

Huge embarrassment for the DGCA as the Bombay High Court has put the Indian Aviation regulator on notice. The matter pertains to the Writ petition that was filed by the All India Cabin Crew Association maintaining that the regulator itself flouts the rules and norms set up for the Indian skies thereby putting in danger the lives of the passengers and crew alike. On October 23 the court will hear the case. Such is the discontent that the petitioners even pleaded that interim relief be provided so that further violations can be stopped. Headlines Today is in the exclusive possession of the copy of violations and the letter written by the AICCA to DGCA after the court order. The letter states that the AICCA is ready to face the regulator on October 23.

The violations detailed along with the Writ petition alleges hundreds of violation committed over the years by Air India which were ignored by the regulator inspite of the repeated pleading by the employees. Speaking to Headlines Today the AICCA maintained that there have been so many violations over the years that they were left with no choice but to approach the court. AICCA has submitted a long list of the violations. For instance on  March 31, 2011 - AI 127 DEL - ORD FLIGHT...B 777 300 ER was carrying only 12 crew on board wherein the count should have been 16.

April 1, 2011 - AI 188 YYZ TO DELHI...B 777 300 ER again managed with 12 crew whereas the requirement was of 16 crew.

The crew was given rest of only 3 hours short by 2 hours. The AICCA alleges that between March 31, 2011 TO June 14, 2011 more than 450 purposeful violations were committed and the DGCA did nothing on it.

DGCAs letter dated 26/02/2008 clearly states that all the doors of the long haul flights have to be manned..

B 777 200 LR has 8 doors

B 777 300 ER has 10 doors

B 747 400 has 12 doors

But in case of crew shortage these doors remain unmanned. A clear violation of the rules. 

Additionally it adds to the task of the cabin crew and in case of a emergency the crew would be in no position to handle the situation.

What should ideally happen as per the rules:

1. Conducive rest area for crew

2. Bunker beds

3. 5 hours rest on board

4. No back to back scheduling

5. On return to base crew there has to be 72 hours rest

6. All doors need to be manned

Of late the DGCA has had to face the wrath of the US regulator the Federal Aviation Administration who has put the Indian regulator on a notice period. The AI employees have already threatened to approach the F
ederal Aviation Administration as well. And now the court notice would be nothing less than a shocker for the DGCA. There are reasons to believe that even the functioning of the Air India management will be questioned.

When contacted Air India maintained that it was an internal matter and would be amicably resolved. DGCA was not available for comments.

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