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Aviation watchdog DGCA has suspended two senior executives of AirAsia India for three months citing "safety violations".
"We had issued a show cause notice to two AirAsia India executives — Head of Operations Manish Uppal and Head of Flight Safety Mukesh Nema — in June only. It has been decided now to suspend them for a period of three months," an official from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
The airline came under the radar after one of its pilots alleged violations of safety norms by the carrier.
Captain Gaurav Taneja, who runs a popular YouTube channel called Flying Beast, tweeted on June 14 that he has been suspended by AirAsia India "for standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers."
Later, on June 15, the suspended pilot posted a detailed video titled "Reasons behind suspension from my pilot job".
Capt Manish Uppal and Mukesh Neema from @AirAsiaIndian are suspended by @DGCAIndia for safety violations and risking people lives for profits.— Gaurav Taneja (@flyingbeast320) August 10, 2020
All the "safety experts" who were acting as PR agents of @AirAsiaIndian , you are caught with your pants down. #AirAsiaIsUnsafe
In his video, Taneja alleged that the airline has asked its pilots to do 98 per cent of landings in "Flap 3" mode, which allows it to save fuel. He said: "If a pilot does not do 98 per cent of landings in 'Flap 3' mode, the airline considers it a violation of its standard operating procedure (SOP)."
Citing the example of Imphal airport, where the plane de-escalates more steeply as compared to other airports when approaching for landing. He said: "When an aircraft is coming down steeply, it needs to have a drag so that it remains slow, and in these circumstances a pilot has to do a 'Flap full' landing."
"In order to achieve targets, what would people do? They will do Flap 3 landings without giving consideration whether it is safe or unsafe. This directly impacts the passenger safety," he had claimed in his YouTube video. "If something happens during a Flap 3 landing, then the question would be asked to the pilot if he or she cares more about saving fuel or 180 passengers," Taneja had said.
He had also raised concerns over some personnel policies including the sanctioning of sick leaves by the airline.
Following his complaints, a probe was ordered and the news of suspension came soon after ascertaining the facts and conducting an enquiry.
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