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Airlines to ensure safety

Come January 2009, airlines will have the exclusive responsibility for ensuring safe journey for passengers, reports Lalatendu Mishra.
Hindustan Times | By Lalatendu Mishra, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 18, 2008 09:07 PM IST

Air passengers can expect better safety standards from airlines soon. Come January 2009, airlines will have the exclusive responsibility for ensuring safe journey for passengers. "Safety management systems will be made mandatory for all airlines from January 2009," said AK Chopra, joint Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in Mumbai on Tuesday.

At present, there are no guidelines which make airlines accountable for safety. The new safety norms are part of civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s efforts to comply with air safety standards of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). While DGCA governs the Indian aviation, ICAO is the apex body that regulates the global industry.

"The old concept of aviation safety is no longer relevant. Now we have multiple layers of safety nets to prevent accidents. When one system fails, the other gets activated," said Director General of Civil Aviation, Kanu Gohain.

Aviation safety has assumed importance as more than 45 million passengers fly in the country every year, according to industry sources.

Airlines are already appointing executives to monitor safety management systems. Jet Airways has roped in former Gulf Air pilot Captain Hassan Al-Mousawi as its vice president (Operations, Safety and Quality). "Airlines need to appoint a safety officer who will directly report to the CEOs," said Kanu Gohain.

To address the problem of air congestion and constant flight delays, the regulator is working out changes to reduce the flying distance between two aircraft. The lateral separation between two flying aircraft is being reduced from five nautical miles to three nautical miles effective July, 2008 said top DGCA officials.

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