COVID-19 has not only taken human lives but it has also affected the aviation sector indirectly. Arun Kumar, Chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said that to check the spread of the pandemic, lockdowns were imposed and that in turn led to curtailed airline operations. This could be the reason behind the increasing number of technical malfunctions being reported by Indian airlines.
“The reasons for the increasing number of technical snags appear to be Covid-related, which impacted airline operations due to lockdown and curtailed operations, etc. Also, there is a universal problem of manpower shortage after Covid, not just with one airline or one country,” Kumar said in an interview with IE.
“What is required is that as flight crew, you need to be alert, vigilant, and respond to situations as they unfold, and if you follow the standard operating procedures, you can navigate without compromising safety. This means that if on ground, you attend to symptoms of snag before proceeding further; and if in air, do the checklist actions appropriately and, if required, seek a priority, precautionary or emergency landing as the case may be,” he added.
He also clarified that many of the technical glitches were actually routine and stressed that to minimise such events the aviation safety regulator is enhancing its surveillance. In the past year, over 460 technical snags were reported by airlines, said official data sourced from the DGCA.
The chief also praised pilots for dealing with such snags with “confidence”. He said that the pilots have not compromised the safety of the passengers.
Ranging from engine snags and burning smell in the cabin to cabin depressurisation, over the last few months, Indian carriers have been plagued by technical malfunctions. During May-June, low-cost airline SpiceJet saw at least eight incidents. As a result, the regulator issued a show cause notice to the airline.