Air India, pilots spar over change in procedure for flying Airbus

Air India, pilots spar over change  in procedure for flying Airbus

A section of Air India pilots have flagged concerns about a recent order by the airline management asking them to tweak procedures while operating Airbus planes. The pilots described the airline’s move as a “serious flight safety violation”.

Aviation experts, however, dismissed the pilots’ concerns. They said pilots’ objections to the procedure were “completely wrong” as bringing down the acceleration altitude from 1,500 feet to 800 feet, as per the new procedure, will ensure fuel efficiency and reduce noise pollution.

In a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Air India pilots’ union Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) claimed that the airline has not notified the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of the modified procedure of operating Airbus and has not received any approval for the same. The ICPA also said no formal circular was issued in this regard though they have received an email from General Manager (Operations) talking about the changes.

“Air India has to follow a certain procedure. No proper circular was issued. Email is no means to notify a change in procedure,” Captain Rajat Rana, General Secretary of ICPA, told Deccan Herald.

Air India denied the allegations, saying that the changed norms fully comply with all operating standards and do not in any way compromise air safety.

According to aviation expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan, the contention of the pilots were “completely wrong” and there was “absolutely no” violation of the safety standards.

He said the minimum acceleration altitude for all engines can be 400 feet or higher altitude if there are obstacles. “Many international and private airlines in the country are having an acceleration altitude below 1,000 feet. Lowering the acceleration altitude will not be an infringement on safety,” he said.

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