Many major disasters could have been avoided if a whistleblower had been listened to
Gaurav Taneja is a popular YouTuber but he also happens to be a pilot with Air Asia, India. In a recent video, he alleged that the airline indulges in some practices that he believes compromises passenger safety in order to save some fuel. As a result of this, he has been suspended from his job. Now, Taneja could very well be wrong. If it is found out that he cried wolf, his career in aviation could be sunk at a very young age and few airlines would hire him. That said, it is good that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation is investigating his claims. While the airline has defended itself by saying that what its pilots are doing is an approved procedure, the manufacturer of the aircraft used, Airbus Industrie, has not made any clarifications so far.
While it is not uncommon for whistleblowers to go to the public at large with their complaints, it is important that the regulators investigate each and every issue that is brought up, involving the safety of the passengers. Far too often, whistleblowers are ignored or run down by organisations for their complaints. In aviation, passenger safety is paramount. If something untoward were to happen and it was to emerge that a whistleblower did raise red flags earlier, the regulator would be on the hook. Such an investigation may or may not require massive resources. Indeed, in this case, a few clarifications from the manufacturer should suffice and it might well turn out that Taneja’s worries were unfounded. But that does not mean that they should be ignored. Rightly so, aviation is one of the most safety-conscious industries in the world. It has a strict layer of protocols. Further, to train to become a commercial pilot is an expensive and extensive undertaking. An air crash is more often than not a failure of man, not the machine. Incorrect or unsafe procedures are human errors. In order to save money on fuel and tyres, airlines should not play with people’s lives. A thorough investigation must be conducted and concluded promptly.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)