Air India pilots have threatened not to operate flights to Kabul, citing security concerns, but the management has said the apprehensions are misplaced, and the airline's services to the Afghan capital will continue.
The State-owned airline, the only Indian carrier to operate to Kabul, said its services to Kabul were complying with all regulations of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation.
“We will maintain our services to Kabul,” an Air India spokesperson told The Hindu from Hyderabad, where a civil aviation exhibition and conference is under way.
The management said the safety apprehensions raised by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) were misplaced. “The points raised by the ICPA with regard to operations to Kabul are not tenable,” Air India said in a statement here on Thursday. “All procedures and safety requirements laid down by the DGCA are being complied with for the said operations.”
Air India was operating safely to Kabul for many years without any untoward incident and safety violations, the airline said. It was also true that many other airlines were operating to Kabul safely with a similar type of aircraft (Category-C) for many years.
The pilots threatened not to operate flights to Kabul if Air India did not give “clear-cut guidelines” for flying to Afghanistan, as it affected the safety of crew and passengers.
In a letter to the Executive Director (Operations) of Air India, ICPA general secretary Captain S. Sabu said the political situation in Kabul was deteriorating, pointing to the major offensive launched against insurgents in the region.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said if there was a problem, the government would look into it.