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All the kings men cannot put Indian aviation sector together again

NewsIP has been regularly keeping its esteemed readers abreast of the Aviation Sector in India. The Indian Aviation Sector, considered a sunrise one, has constantly fallen short of the promises held out. In fact, recently it has become some sort of a bimaru sector with chronic ailments. None of the high profile companies, all in the private sector, are in fine fettle.
The Ministry of Civil aviation, headed by a high profile scion of a princely state, with a reputation of trouble shooting and solving problems, seems to be left with its thumbs twiddling.

The major domestic airlines seem to be defaulting at alarmingly regular intervals. NewsIP, had in past shared with its readers troubling incidents concerning major Airlines in India.

The much touted Air India rejuvenation is far from sight. It has been responsible for excessive delays, not caring for passenger welfare, serious transgressions like feeding passengers on tarmac and violating safety norms.
It was recently penalized by the DGCA to the tune of Rs 80 Lakhs for violating regulations pertaining to flight duty time limitations(FDTL). Many aviation veterans jeer that a Maharaja sold another Maharaja which ultimately proved to be a khota sikka. Yesterday again, though not quite surprisingly anymore, Vistara Airline was in the news, for all the wrong reasons. It appears that Vistara Airline, which is owned by the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, is currently hit by multiple flight cancellations and delays.

The airlines even issued a statement on Monday which confirmed it and said that teams were working to stabilize the situation. Interestingly, some important persons even aired their views on the social media. Shri Mohan Das Pai, former CFO, Infosys wrote on X – “@airvistara service sucks. 20mts before departure from BLR to AHMEDABAD . -10-30 am, they change the time of D to 1200 noon. No prior notice.

Why did @vistara not message the delay? Terrible service, no announcement, no clarity,” Another, Shri Vikram Sampath, Historian and writer wrote after his flight was cancelled at the last minute. “Pathetic @airvistara … mumbai blore flight 5 pm gets cancelled last min citing ‘operational reasons’.. we change booking to morning 9 am. U announce boarding n then say ‘operational reason’ it now leaves at 11. Do u even care for ur customers, their time, money?

As a CV Gold member frustrated by ur poor service,” Well it seems the world is catching up with NewsIP, what we have been saying all along that all is not well with the Indian Aviation Sector is now being voiced by many. Coming to another incident which occurred on Wednesday in Kolkata, the wingtip of an IndiGo aircraft grazed against that of a stationary Air India Express plane at Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.

Both aircrafts had passengers on board. The wings of both the planes sustained damages. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has launched a probe and de-rostered both IndiGo pilots.
In the rarified air of the India Aviation Sector, the Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA call all the shots. But once must remember that it’s an industry which is largely governed by international standards. So to maintain the chalta hai attitude is bound to bring in disfavor for the Indian Aviation Sector. Interestingly, it is reported that Pakistan has advised its active Flight Crews not to observe fasting, while flying, in the holy month of Ramzan. Readers will recall that a plane crash in Pakistan was reportedly attributed to Pilots having fasted while operating the flight. If the report is true, then this shows the kind of precautions aviation experts are willing to take.

Therefore, one can be certain that the international aviation regulatory bodies are keeping a very sharp eye on these adverse incidents in India. Not only these events taking place repeatedly, impact aviation circles but shakes passenger confidence as well. Already, the social media is agog with negative aspects of Aviation in India. This is bound to impact the domestic as well as international tourism sector as well.
One fails to understand that despite so many near misses why does the Aviation Ministry not clean up the act ? While none of the incidents mentioned can be called minor but are we all waiting for a major disaster to take place before being shaken out of our complacence? The holiday season is to commence shortly.

All the Airlines will go for the kill with predatory pricing et al but will there be any compensation paid for the traumas suffered by the passengers? In fact, it could be revealing, if a mental health check up is done just after a passenger faces unprecedented difficulties during air travel. This will show the extent of damage a person suffers, out of these so called inconsequential occurrings. Airlines can then be directed to pay compensation accordingly. As some wisecracker once quipped – In India, just as in Cigarette Packages, Airports should also have statutory warnings prominently displayed – Air Travel is Injurious to health

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