More than four of the 10 domestic last-minute flight cancellations in June were caused by aircraft snags, according to a report released by the aviation safety regulator on Wednesday.
By that measure, snag-induced flight cancellations, last month, was highest this year. The previous highest was April, when engineering glitches accounted for 35.2% cancelled flights, the data stated.
“The poor upkeep of the aircraft fleet by domestic airlines is a bigger concern,” said a retired Boeing commander requesting anonymity.
Industry experts said unlike unexpected factors such as poor weather or crew agitation, fleet maintenance is in airlines’ hands. “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) should conduct a pan-industry audit of how our planes a maintained,” said a member of a government-appointed independent air safety panel formed after the Air India Express crash at Mangalore in 2010, which killed all 158 people on board.
DGCA chief M Sathiyavathy was not available for a comment.
Technical glitches also contributed to about 5% flight delays, the data added. While the number looks small, such waits trigger chain disruptions in the schedule, described as ‘reactionary’ delays in the report. These factors accounted for almost two-third of the late arrivals and departures seen last month.
This category – also known as ‘knock-on’ delays – consists of delays caused owing to multiple factors such as delay in the arrival of an aircraft or holding up a flight to accommodate transit fliers.
Month-wise break-up of flights cancelled because of snags (%)