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SOURCE: OUTLOOK INDIA

In one of its investigation reports related to air safety violations, India’s premier accident-probe body, Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AIIB), goofed up and showed Pak-occupied Kashmir as Azad Kashmir.

It removed the report a few hours after uploading it on its website on Monday. Air safety experts took this opportunity to vent their ire and said that the error reflects that the country’s top investigation body lacked professional expertise and skills.

“This happens when you do a ‘cut and paste’ job rather than serious investigation,” SS Panesar, former director, flight safety, Indian Airlines, said.

The investigation report in question is one dated July 4, 2019, of an Aircraft, A-320, operated by Vistara Airlines.

It flew from Jammu to Srinagar, however, due to adverse weather around Jammu, it was diverted to Amritsar.

While carrying out approach at Amritsar, the aircraft sent a distress signal to the Air Traffic Control tower for very low fuel.

“After landing, the fuel remaining on the aircraft was just 460 kg,” the report said calling the incident a serious one.

The aircraft was carrying 139 passengers and 7 crew members.

Fuel requirement and planning varies according to aircraft, its size, passenger-carrying capacity, metrological conditions and so many other factors.

The above aircraft in question wouldn’t have flown for more than 15 to 20 minutes as Airbus 320 consumes roughly 1,500 kg fuel in 60 minutes.   

The AAIB investigators apparently while explaining the air route chose a map on which PoK was mentioned as Azad Kashmir.

Aviation experts have been criticising AAIB for poor handling of aviation investigations in many other cases of late.

Panesar said, “Air accident investigation is in a pathetic shape in India. When you have inexperienced investigators who don’t have the required skill and domain knowledge, this is bound to happen.”

“Just imagine that an incident which took place one and a half year ago, they are coming out with a report now. And that too with a blunder,” he added. 

Other experts also took this opportunity to attack AAIB for lack of experience of investigators and long delays in making investigation reports public.

A serving pilot of a private airline pointed out delay in releasing the preliminary investigation report of the Calicut air accident that happened six months ago.

“The government had said then that the final report will be submitted within five months. Now no one is talking about it,” he said.

He also pointed out that crash survivors were asked if they were announced by the crew in advance about the crash.

“Can any investigator tell me how can crew and pilot announce in advance that the plane is going to crash? What kind of investigation is this?

Outlook wrote to Group Captain Aurobindo Handa, DG, AAIB but he didn’t respond.