What happens to air safety probes? | india | Hindustan Times
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What happens to air safety probes?

india Updated: Jul 02, 2009 03:05 IST
Soubhik Mitra

It has been a month since the Directorate General of Civil Aviation set up a team to expedite pending air mishap probes, but those files haven’t made much progress.

The regulator had said it would quickly close the probe into the Air India-Jet Airways near collision of three weeks ago. But the report for that lies buried among many such reports languishing at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) Delhi headquarters.

The incident involved an Air India flight carrying 119 passengers halting dangerously close to a Jet Airways flight with 120 passengers at Mumbai airport.

A week later, Nasim Zaidi, director general, DGCA, told Hindustan Times that a team has been formed for quick disposal of simple cases. “It is a simple case. We will complete the probe in a week and list the details on our website,” he said.

Preliminary reports based on excerpts from the cockpit voice recorder say the Air India pilot had started taxiing without permission from Air Traffic Control (ATC). And that’s not a rare case.

Sources said there are about 70 such cases, comprising a mix of minor airfield incidents and major cases like last year’s Air India flight from Dubai, which, on June 1, 2008, overshot Mumbai airport towards Goa by about 80 nautical miles due to poor communication between the pilot and the ATC.

“Some cases are as old as 2007,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. The DGCA has not published any probe reports since 2005.

Zaidi did not respond to multiple calls and a text message from Hindustan Times.

Failure to publish accident data is a violation of rules of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the international regulator for air travel. ICAO standard (annex 13) says every country must make aviation accident data public, as practised by the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent US federal agency that updates US air accident data every week on its website.