AirAsia terminates whistleblower pilot

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on June 29, 2020

AirAsia India is a joint venture between Tata Sons and AirAsia Berhad   -  Bloomberg

The AirAsia India employee, Gaurav Taneja, the whistleblower pilot, who went public with allegations of the airline violating air safety norms, has been terminated from service.

Sources in the airline told BusinessLine that he was first served a show-cause notice which was followed by the company suspending him from service on disciplinary issues. He services were later terminated. Sources also said Taneja was being investigated even earlier for certain disciplinary issues.

The regulator DGCA has also initiated a probe to check the veracity of the claims made by the pilot.

Taneja, a first officer with AirAsia India, also confirmed in a series of tweets that he had been terminated from service.

A day earlier, the DGCA sent a show-cause notice to the airline’s Head of Operations, Manish Uppal, seeking details about the company’s safety policy.

Taneja had alleged that AirAsia India was violating safety protocols that were introduced to contain the spread of coronavirus and was putting the lives of its passengers in grave danger.

In n his YouTube video channel ‘Flying Beast’, he had also alleged that the airline had asked its pilots to carry out 98 per cent of landings in Flap 3 mode which leads to lesser fuel being consumed. Flaps are part of the aircraft wings and they are engaged to create drag during landing and take off.

However, in airports where the descent is steep, the aircraft needs some amount of drag to enable it to slow down and land safely.

But airline analysts say that Taneja should have followed office protocols before airing his views in public. “There is a redressal system in place for all the employees in the airline. He could have used that platform which could have helped the airline to correct any errors if there were any,” an airline executive said.

Published on June 29, 2020

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