Air India replaces official accused of safety breach | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Air India replaces official accused of safety breach

The national carrier Air India has replaced a top executive heading the airline’s in-flight services department less than 15 days after a section of its cabin crew accused the official of rampant safety violations. Soubhik Mitra reports.

mumbai Updated: Sep 07, 2011 00:53 IST
Soubhik Mitra

The national carrier Air India has replaced a top executive heading the airline’s in-flight services department less than 15 days after a section of its cabin crew accused the official of rampant safety violations.

On August 17, a section of the cabin crew has sought the airline’s chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan’s written approval to file a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the arrest of captain AS Soman, for allegedly jeopardising passenger and crew safety. On September 2, Soman was stripped of the charge and replaced by the airline’s former human resources head Anup Srivastav.

An airline spokesperson confirmed the move. “It is a routine administrative change,” said the spokesperson. AI crew claimed that the PIL is likely to be filed in the Bombay high court (HC) next week.

The petition alleges that during Soman’s tenure the airline operated 148 international flights between April and June with cabin crew below the count decided by the safety regulator. It also alleges that cabin crew was not provided the stipulated five-hour rest on board on most long distance international flights.

Shortage of crew or depriving them rest can endanger passengers’ safety.

Sources added that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also questioned Soman for the violations. On March 18, AK Sharan, joint director, DGCA had warned Soman that the regulator might take action against him as per the Aircraft Rules, 1937, for putting passengers’ lives in danger.

Under the Rules, a person found guilty of a safety violation can get a prison term of six months and a fine of up to Rs2 lakh for each violation.