Coming to the defence of the beleagured Air India, government today rejected the perception about the state carrier being the “leader in emergency landings” and asserted that there has been “zero accident” due to any poor maintenance.
Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajpathi Raju told the Rajya Sabha that every safety procedure is followed in the Air India as “no deficiency” would be allowed in flying Indian aircrafts.
He said the performance of Air India has improved and it is making profit for the first time in 10 years.
“It is unfair to say that Air India is the leader in emergency landings... I do not go into Air India bashing at all. It is unfair to say this,” Raju said while replying to questions in which opposition members voiced concern over emergency landings by the planes of the state carrier.
“During the last two years and the current year, a total of 120 incidents of emergency landing due to medical emergency and technical reasons have been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Out of the 120 incidents, 102 were due to medical emergency and 18 due to technical reasons,” the minister said.
Of the 120 incidents of emergency landing, 23 are attributed to Air India and the rest to other airlines, he said.
“We follow every safety procedure for all airlines including Air India. We can’t risk people’s life. No deficiency will be allowed to in flying Indian aircrafts in the sky,” he said.
Replying to a question by Congress leader Ambika Soni, the civil aviation minister said all incidents due to technical reasons investigated by DGCA and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) and safety recommendations emanating from the investigation reports are followed up for implementation with the concerned agencies so as to prevent recurrence of similar incidents in future.
He also asserted that Air India is making profit “for the first time in last 10 years” even as he stated that the aviation safety rating of India was downgraded during the UPA regime, a remark which drew sharp reaction from Congress members.
“Air India’s all-time performance has increased. This year it is making profit, which is the first time in last ten years. It is making an operative profit. Air India is doing good work,” Raju asserted.