The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the aviation regulator, has issued a notice two weeks after one of its pilots to a top executive of AirAsia India, which runs a popular YouTube channel called “Flying Beast”, which allegedly violated safety norms by the low-cost airline. is. Senior officials said on Sunday.
“A show-cause notice has been issued to Manish Uppal, Head of Operations, AirAsia India after the pilot’s allegations,” a DGCA official said.
A spokesperson for AirAsia India said, “AirAsia India confirms the receipt of the notice and we are assisting the regulator in its fact-finding process. We will fully cooperate with the regulator.”
Capt Gaurav Taneja, who runs the YouTube channel, tweeted on 14 June that he had been suspended by AirAsia India for “standing up for the safe operation of an aircraft and its passengers”. On June 15, he posted a detailed video on YouTube titled “The reason behind the suspension from my pilot’s job”.
Mr. Taneja alleged in the video that the airline asked its pilots to make 98 percent landing in “flap 3” mode, which allows it to save fuel. He said that if the pilot does not land 98 percent landing in “flap 3” mode, the airline considers it a violation of standard operating procedure or SOP.
Flaps are part of wings of an aircraft and they are engaged to create a drag during a landing or a take-off.
Mr. Taneja gave the example of Imphal Airport, where the aircraft descends more than other airports when it comes to landing. He said that when an aircraft is coming down fast, it needs to be pulled so that it remains slow and in these circumstances a pilot has to make a “flap full” landing.
“To achieve their goal, what will people do? They will be landing Flap 3 regardless of whether it is safe or unsafe. It directly affects passenger safety,” he said in his YouTube video.
If something happens during the Flap 3 landing, the question will be asked to the pilot whether he cares more about saving fuel or the lives of 180 passengers, Mr. Taneja said.
On 15 June, the DGCA said on Twitter that it noted the concerns raised by some stakeholders over “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,” it added.
Senior DGCA officials confirmed on June 15 that AirAsia India was under investigation after Mr. Taneja’s allegations.