New Delhi: Two pilot unions on Tuesday wrote to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, seeking ‘immediate replacement’ of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar for his comments on the recent Air India Express flight crash in Kerala’s Kozhikode. Also Read - Air India Express Crash: DGCA Bans Use of Wide-Body Aircraft at Kozhikode Airport During Monsoon
The comments, as per the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Union (ICPA) and Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG), revealed the DGCA chief’s total lack of ‘technical know-how’, as well as an ‘amateurish view’ of the crash, in which 18 people lost their lives. Also Read - Air India Express Plane Crash: Captain Sathe to be Accorded With State Funeral, Announces Maharashtra CM
Notably, the two pilot unions pointed out to the DGCA chief’s remarks during one of the televised interviews that ‘the landing was not smooth’, thus attributing blame of the crash to the pilots, both of whom were killed in the crash. Also Read - Air India Express Crash: 600 People Involved in Rescue Operations go Under Quarantine
They also took exception to his remarks on another news channel in which he stated that ‘the two fellows (pilots) are dead and the landing it seems wasn’t appropriate’.
The DGCA chief’s remarks go against the popular belief that the pilots-former IAF Wing Commander Deepak Sathe and First Officer Akhilesh Kumar-saved hundreds of lives by switching off the plane’s engine, thus ensuring that it didn’t burst into flames upon landing.
The flight, which had taken off from Dubai, crashed at the Kozhikode International Airport Friday evening after it failed to land at the tabletop runway due to heavy rains. Eventually, it skidded off the runway and plunged into a nearby gorge, splitting into two in the process.
Of the total 190 people on board, 16 passengers were killed, besides the two pilots.
(With inputs from PTI)