New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Sunday issued a notice to a top executive of AirAsia India, two weeks after it began a probe into suspension of a pilot of the airline, who claimed that he was being suspended for exposing ‘violations of safety norms’ by the low-cost airline. Also Read - 'AirAsia India Violates Passenger Safety,' Alleges Suspended Pilot; DGCA Begins Probe
Confirming the development, a DGCA official said, “A show cause notice has been issued to Manish Uppal, Head of Operations, AirAsia India after the pilot’s allegations.”
AirAsia India, too, confirmed the receipt of the notice, saying, “AirAsia India confirms receipt of the notice and we are assisting the regulator in its fact finding process. We will fully cooperate with the regulator”.
Notably, on June 14, Delhi-based Captain Gaurav Taneja had tweeted that he had been officially suspended from AirAsia India for ‘standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers”.
Captain Taneja, who is originally from Kanpur, also has a YouTube channel called ‘Flying Beast’, on which, after his suspension, he had uploaded a video titled ‘Reasons Behind Suspension From My Pilot Job’. In the video, which he uploaded on the day of his suspension itself, he had alleged that the Bengaluru-headquartered airline had asked its pilots to do 98% of landings in ‘Flap 3’ mode, which allows it to save fuel.
“If a pilot does not do 98% of landings in ‘Flap 3’ mode, the airline considers it a violation of its standard operating procedure or SOP,” he further explained in the video.
He added that in order to achieve targets, pilots were doing ‘Flap 3’ landing without giving consideration whether it is safe or unsafe. This, he said, directly impacts the passenger safety.
“If something happens during a ‘Flap 3’ landing, the pilots would be questioned whether they care more about saving fuel or saving lives of 180 passengers,” Captain Taneja had said.
After the video went viral, the DGCA took cognisance of it on June 15-a day after his suspension-tweeting: “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”.
(With PTI inputs)