DGCA chief has no technical knowledge, 2 pilots’ unions tell Hardeep Puri to remove him
The two pilots’ unions took umbrage at DGCA Arun Kumar’s language in television interviews following the crash of an Air India Express flight in Kozhikode last week.
Two pilots’ unions of Air India on Tuesday called for the immediate removal of DGCA Arun Kumar because his comments on news channels reveal a “total lack of technical knowledge and amateurish view of the unfortunate accident” at Kozhikode.
The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) and the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) said in a letter to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri that Kumar must be replaced by a suitable candidate with substantial knowledge of the aviation sector and operational experience.
The two pilots’ unions took umbrage at Kumar’s language in television interviews following the crash of an Air India Express flight in Kozhikode last week.
Kumar said in a television interview that the plane’s “landing was not smooth”. In another interview, he said that “two fellows are dead...and the landing it seems was not appropriate”, the ICPA and the IPG wrote in the letter to Puri.
Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe (58) was the commander of the flight with 190 people on board while Captain Akhilesh Kumar (32) was the co-pilot of the aircraft that overshot the runway on landing and crashed at the Kozhikode airport on Friday night. The two pilots were among 18 casualties.
“Not only was the reference to the deceased individuals by such a senior officer of the Govt. of India as “ fellows “ highly inappropriate and distasteful but completely in violation of international norms and protocols that are required to be followed by regulatory agencies,” the unions said.
“The above remarks only go to reveal his total lack of technical knowledge and amateurish view of the unfortunate accident. It is an established scientific fact that so-called “smooth” touchdowns may be counterproductive in certain adverse weather conditions and may pose a significant risk to safety. Whether a landing technique is appropriate or a contributory factor to a mishap can only be ascertained after a thorough, evidence backed investigation and not by speculative, casual remarks.”
The pilots called for Kumar’s removal and pointed out the “futility of routinely appointing career bureaucrats” to head the DGCA.
“We, therefore, as a body of professional aviators, have lost complete faith and confidence in Mr. Arun Kumar and thus, demand that he be replaced with immediate effect. At this juncture we would also like to point out the futility of routinely appointing career bureaucrats picked from their parent cadre, as the head of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. It is a highly specialized and technical field beyond the comprehension of non-specialists. Civil Aviation requires a domain expert to understand the complexities and technicalities involved.”
The unions said that appointing a non-specialist serves no purpose and only demoralises the aviation professionals in the department.