Air India says Kabul operations safe after pilots threaten pullout

The National airline, the only Indian air carrier to operate to Kabul, said its services to Kabul are DGCA-compliant and that it would be maintained."We will maintain our services to Kabul," an Air India spokesperson said in Hyderabad where an aviation industry conference is underway.

Air India's management also said that safety apprehensions put across by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) were misplaced."The points raised by ICPA with regard to operations to Kabul are not tenable," Air India said in a statement.

"All procedures and safety requirements laid down by DGCA are being complied with for the said operations," it said.As such, Air India has been operating safely to Kabul for many years without any untoward incident and safety violations, the airline said.

It was also true that many other airlines were also operating to Kabul safely with similar type of aircraft (Category-C) for many years, the statement added..The Air India pilots earlier threatened not to operate flights to Kabul if the national carrier does not give "clear-cut guidelines" for flying into Afghanistan as it directly affects the safety of crew and passengers.

In a letter to Executive Director (Operations) of Air India , ICPA General Secretary Captain S Sabu said the political situation in Kabul has been deteriorating and noted that the NATO forces have launched a major offensive against insurgents in the region.Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said if there is a problem the government will look into it

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