Hyderabad: Passengers forgetting to switch off their mobile phones, cabin crew failing to maintain pressure and pilots getting into a fight in the cockpit. These were among the 264 cases of air safety violations registered in 2018.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said 1,286 air safety violations were reported between 2014 and 2018, the highest being in 2016 when 339 cases were registered. Barring a few instances, there were no major risks to passengers in most cases.
The data comes at a time when many airlines have cited violation of air safety rules to ban stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with them over the alleged heckling of senior journalist Arnab Goswami aboard an IndiGo flight.
In September 2018, the crew on board a flight of the erstwhile Jet Airways could not properly maintain the cabin pressure, leading to nose-bleeding in some travellers.
Air safety violations are of different categories, but everything boils down to passenger and airspace safety, says Rakesh Dhannarapu, the author of the book 101 Flying Secrets.
“Every flight has a checklist that a pilot has to go through. One of the points in the checklist is to switch on the artificial pressurization system. The Jet Airways incident happened as the pilot forgot to switch-on the artificial pressurisation system. It maintains earth-like atmosphere, but as it was not switched on it led to improper pressure in the aircraft leading to nose bleeding,” says Rakesh.
Even passengers can trigger air safety violations, something that has been raised in the case of stand-up Kamra. "One of the common among them is not switching off mobile phones. This might be not taken seriously, but it leads to disturbance when the flight is trying to contact with the ground staff," says Rakesh.
In January 2018, Jet Airways cancelled the licences of two senior pilots for fighting inside the cockpit of a London-Mumbai flight. According to aviation regulator DGCA, the captain had allegedly slapped his female co-pilot following an argument. As it happened twice, the female pilot left the cockpit. To placate her, the other pilot too walked out of the cockpit, leading to an air safety violation.
To avoid such brawls among themselves, Rakesh says, pilots are also trained to settle their disputes through crew management. “Like you cannot drink and drive, one cannot drink and fly also. Most pilots get suspended for this. The pilots go through a medical test before flying and even if 1 per cent of alcohol is found in their body, they are treated not allowed to fly the flight."