Government may consider setting up a separate body to investigate air accidents in line with the US National Transportation Safety Board, in view of Saturday's air crash in Mangalore that claimed 158 lives.
"We will be looking at this aspect (setting of an independent body to investigate accidents) very meaningfully.... We will look at, may be a different, an independent regulator for this purpose," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told CNN-IBN tonight.
His comments came when he was asked whether the government could consider establishing an independent body to probe accidents, like the NTSB that investigates all major accidents in the US including air crashes or accidents at sea or on highways.
Replying to questions on the Air India Express crash, Patel did not rule out a human error factor but made it clear that the report of the inquiry being conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation should be awaited before coming to any conclusion.
"You cannot rule out a human error factor. Certainly all parameters looked normal for a normal touchdown," he said.
To a question on his offer to resign during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night, Patel said it was an "emotional moment ... I accepted it (the crash) as a moral responsibility ... At the end of the day, I am the head of the civil aviation family.
"But at the same time, irrespective of who is responsible and whether it is necessary for a Minister to say that I am accountable or not, the fact is I personally felt very bad. I was upset about the whole thing. .... There is no logical answer to an emotional situation".
Patel also said he had spoken to the DGCA to go into issues relating to small and difficult airports so that new policy formulations could be evolved in view of the peculiar problems there.
Asked about a "complete revamp" of Air India Express as all managerial positions were "part-time", he said "yes, if that is the case, it will be done. And also the fact is that it cannot be said that it is completely headless. After all, it is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Air India."
"We will look at further strengthening of the management set-up of the Air India Express," Patel said.