AI Express, other national carriers threaten the safety of passengers?

Serious issues in civil aviation industry calls for immediate attention.
Vijay Mallya, the Kingfisher’s man says the media in India gives his airline too much attention. Right!

The Indian media lost its credibility. No one in the media stands up for the larger cause. National interest.

As per the latest reports, Air India, once India’s pride, now a pain in the neck, is messing up things, even after it got a new civil aviation minister. There is a very disturbing trend; there was this latest AI pilots strike, over what? Just in the inexcusable delay in paying their wages!

Is this not a shame? Is anybody worried? The civil aviation minister seems to be standing up in a queue to get the cheque to pay up the AI employees wages!

Much more painful, really amusing indeed is the news the national airline is to receive its dues from the PMO for the PM’s overseas trips, too many to many countries that runs up to as on date to Rs.110 crore! The real bill was almost twice the size and the total bill couldn’t be cleared for quite some time.

This is distressing.

Is this the way the public are given to understand the civil aviation industry mess?

We have just now come back after a visit to Kuala Lampur (KL) travelling there in the low-cost Air Asia flight; it is a success story in the South Asian countries.

No one said of the success story behind Air Asia and  now only we  realised that in other Asian countries, in particular Singapore, there is another such success story, Silky Airlines, there is intense competition between Singapore and Malaysia in the civil aviation sector, the book on Air Asia reads like a fairy tale success!

Tony Fernandez, the man behind the Air Asia has a unique business model that it is worth studying by our domestic players in the sector.
Air Asia has tied up with neighbouring countries like Thailand and Indonesia with the local players so that if you make KL as your hub for flying to other neighbouring countries there is the very same concessions, you get the very same facilities and in the days at your disposal you can fly to almost all the South East Asian geography with very little additional expenses. For instance, there is a package for Singapore from KL for just as little as say some 50 or so RMT. Just one thousand rupees!

Of course when we were in KL we read the latest news that Asia is also beset with problems that confront all civil aviation companies. Air Asia is to cut down its long haul flights to London and Paris in the coming months. It has the unique advantage of flying to destinations within three hours. From Bangalore it is four hours and everyday it flies say less than eight hours the same day flying back to KL after dropping and lifting passengers within an hour or so.

As we were waiting at the airport to take off to KL, there were breaking news on the TV screen which almost seemed to warn and created a near panic, we are sure, among the waiting passengers.
The breaking news was about the warning the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the boss himself came on the TV screen to say that many of the civil airlines were compromising with the airline safety standards! In fact, the regulator named some airlines, among which were of course, the troubled kingfisher, Indigo and AI Express which is a government – Run Company! The Gurgaon-based IndiGo is said to be a profitable company and yet it received this warning!

Why? It flouted safety norms, the reports say, on a number of times! On a number of times! The airline in question is to expand the expansion to 55 aircraft. India’s own, fully owned low cost airline, AI Express came for criticism and needed to prune its own  operations, said the DGCA.

All the airlines are facing financial strains and thus, they are likely to compromise with their safety procedures.

There are flaws in almost all the air carriers, including, it is said, Jet and Spice Jet, but the problem with AI Express seems to be very serious. IndiGo, has seen, it is said, large number of premature engine removals in a short span (January-October 2011).As the carrier now flies to lon haul flights, its operational efficiency is now being reviewed, it seems.

In the meantime, we just now read the article by Sanat Kaul, Chairman of the International Foundation of Aviation, Aerospace and Development, India chapter (Deccan Herald) that after the Prime Minister’s level, to safeguard the threat by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to downgrade the safety level of Indian civil aviation industry to category II from category I, the PM ordered to 400 technical posts in the DGCA to supervise and monitor the safety standards. But says Sanat Kaul now that as on date only 10 per cent of the post filled up. This means what? Very serious lapse on the part of government, on the very minister, the Secretary of the civil aviation department to provide the people a high degree of efficient governance.

A sensitive subject like the air safety of the multitude of passengers whose lives are threatened.

Whom to blame?

Any objective criticism seems impossible in the country today.
The very credibility of the media is suspect.

After the paid news scandal, the very motives of the media suspect. Why certain sections, of industry or the persons are highlighted and shown in favourbale light. Certain sections and individuals are left out, nay, blakced out.

One doesn’t know who is the biggest spender, the ad spender in India. Of course, the very high-pitched publicity certain products and companies receive, from automobiles to corruption, the very definition  of what constitutes corruption, a free ride on the jet aircraft lent to a VIP by an obliging corporate house constitutes corruption? In what way?

A very high and even sustained publicity for a new car or a new product when the public knows that an Indian made auto is always very inferior ,even today ,say, compared with a Japanese or a Korean product and yet the India-made car or a SUV is shown and sold with all sorts of publicity and gimmicks.

So, even in such a case of a leading PSU like AI, is not reported with great deal of objectivity and keeping in mind the larger public interest.

Also, under the present regime, secrecy is now a routine habit. No news is forthcoming, no minister of any consequence talks out, and press interviews seem to be almost banned. Or, discouraged?
The PM and the PMO must only do an introspection to come out with an improvement in the performance level of the government.

Post Navigation