Air India Express accident at Calicut was facilitated by the regulator, how?

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  Air India Airbus Landing at Port Blair (Source Dr Puneet) Blaming the pilots alone for an accident is like addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause of the Calicut accident of IX1344 on 7th Aug 2020 is the poor safety culture prevalent in India and the ineffective regulatory oversight. This landing(YouTube video) can be categorized as a deliberate attempt to endanger the lives of passengers and crew. This is not the Calicut landing but a landing at another critical airport where most of the year the airport experiences tailwinds. Since the airport has a unidirectional runway ( landing from one direction only), the flight crew has no option but to land in tailwinds. The situation worsens during the monsoons when there is a tailwind and the runway is wet and braking action reduces. Action has not been taken either by the regulator or by the airline safety. Why? What is the role of the regulator? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory

Aviation ministry sits on INR1450 Cr in the backdrop of unpaid salaries & COVID crisis

 


Un-utilised funds

COVID19 crisis has crippled the aviation sector which has witnessed salary cuts and job losses to stay afloat. In this time of crisis the civil aviation ministry has managed to overlook utilization of budgetary allocation of a staggering INR1450 Cr FY 2020-21. 

This has been recorded in the report of the Parliamentary committee on transport tabled  in March 2021.

The report in para 8.1 states the following "The Committee is distressed to note that the Ministry has been able to spend only 64.9% of the enhanced RE allocation of ₹4131.63 crores, which means that the Ministry has to spend ₹1450.78 crore in the remaining two months of the Financial Year 2020-21.


 The Committee apprehends significant underutilization of the budgetary funds available with the Ministry. At a time when the Government was facing major financial troubles on account of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry received a considerable boost of 8.8% at RE 2020-21, as compared to BE 2020-21. 


Poor utilization of the funds would lead to idling of funds which should have been avoided. The Committee would like the Ministry to take stock of the reasons which caused the slow pace of utilization of funds and take corrective measures to ensure optimum utilization of the allocated funds, during the Financial Year 2021-22. "


The government had decided to roll back 5% of the Air India pilot's salaries after a substantial cut in April 2020. The union rejected the offer. In the letter the Air India pilot's union said that the disproportionate unilateral pay cut imposed on pilots due to the covid-19 pandemic, since April 2020, amounts to a gross reduction of upto 58% of their salaries.

"This cut has been carefully worded to slash our wages by more than half while insulating top management from any meaningful austerity contribution such as a fair percentage cut on gross emoluments which spreads the burden fairly," the unions said in the letter.

"We have gone above and beyond during this pandemic risking life & limb to ensure the success of Vande Bharat Mission. In spite of 171 pilots testing COVID-19 positive, operations continue to run smoothly even in the face of a resurgence of an even deadlier strain of COVID19," they added.

While there is no accountability on the part of the government, a colossal waste in midst of the pandemic crisis is criminal.

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