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Aircraft accidents and associated concerns

Case Study of Mangalore Airport:

  1. A Bangalore-based NGO (Environment Support Group) filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Karnataka High Court in 1997.
  2. It reported that the second runway in Mangalore airport did not meet the standards of emergency landings and take-offs. However, the PIL was dismissed.
  3. Another PIL was filed in the year 2002. It also got dismissed.
  4. This was appealed in the Supreme Court. But, the apex court did not seem to ‘interfere’.
  5. Consequently, on 22nd May 2010, AIE 812 crashed on landing in Mangalore. Almost 158 people died.
  6. The case was investigated and the pilot was blamed. It is argued that the inquiry team ignored the violations of laws or norms by government authorities.

Other Examples of Accidents

  1. An Air Sahara 737 overshot the runway in 2005.
  2. A Kingfisher ATR went off the runway in 2009.
  3. Spicejet also met with a string of accidents.
  4. On August 2020, there was an accident in Calicut that resulted in the loss of 21 lives.

Associated Concerns

  1. India has faced several incidents in the past that have resulted in huge loss of lives.
  2. Even the investigations by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) have failed on multiple occasions.
  3. Indian authorities were not swift in learning the lessons from previous accidents.
  4. The incompetence of authorities is covered by blaming the pilot for accidents.
  5. Investigations had failed to prevent accidents from recurring thereby indicating a lack of accountability and transparency.
  6. There is a failure to identify serious errors in the report and take corrective actions.
  7. Immediate rescue by rescue and firefighting vehicles after accidents is also difficult due to narrow service roads like in Calicut.
  8. The commercial interest of the airlines bypasses the safety guidelines.
  9. There are deficiencies in training programmes, safety audits by DGCA, and adopting corrective measures.
  10. The pilots are fatigued due to commercial requirements.

Way Ahead:

  1. The judiciary should proactively take the case of the safety of Indian skies.
  2. Moreover, occupational safety and training should be given top priority.