Air India faced a major embarrassment in June when Air Traffic Control (ATC) at Abu Dhabi threatened to refuse its aircraft permission to take off from Dubai airport, because it had not updated a crucial software airlines use.
Abu Dhabi warned India’s national carrier twice in June. A Dubai-Hyderabad flight on June 6 was allowed to depart only after AI gave an undertaking that it would not return to the United Arab Emirates till it had upgraded the software, says an internal circular distributed to all A320 pilots of the airline.
The software in question was the NAV database that includes the aircraft’s flight path. It has to be updated every 28 days. Unless updated in time, an aircraft with an old database could be on a conflict path with another which has the new database.
Abu Dhabi even threatened AI with legal action, claiming its tardiness was endangering lives. According to the July 14 circular, ATC “warned that a case of negligence and endangering lives would be registered against the airline in the UAE”.
Following the embarrassment, AI’s top management directed all aircraft operating out of India be released with “current and valid NAV database with immediate effect”.
An AI spokesperson said the airline was ascertaining the details of the case.