The editorial “Lessons from the tragedy” (May 24) is an eye-opener. It appears that the crash of the Air India Express flight from Dubai was the result of pilot error. The providential escape of eight persons is a consolation. Unfortunately, the authorities wake up only after accidents take place. Precautionary safety measures are lacking. As suggested by the editorial, it is time to consider constituting an independent air safety board and an independent regulator.
Indian skies are becoming congested by the day because more and more people are ready to fly to save time. The investigation into the Mangalore tragedy will no doubt determine the exact cause of the accident but the need of the hour is to improve the safety standards of aviation. Accidents during the landing take place due to poor judgment.
The safety record of European and North American flights are incomparable to airlines in India. Given a choice, people prefer foreign carriers. The customer confidence can be regained only through proper service and safety record.
The Mangalore air crash is yet another instance of throwing caution to the winds and ignoring warnings issued by near misses in midair, non-fatal incidents such as overshooting the runway and height drop in turbulence. We do not think beforehand and there is no failsafe approach. Sophisticated landing systems should give appropriate warnings against deviations and misjudgements. It is time the security of the Kozhikode airport — which also has a tabletop runway — was reviewed.
The safety standards at all airports and other issues would require a review and plan of action at a macro level. Despite the enormous economic strides that we proudly claim to have made, we are witness to a colossal loss of lives at frequent intervals. Road accidents happen despite the widening of roads, and train accidents take place even while the Railways make huge profits. The much touted economic progress will remain irrelevant unless the state pays the utmost attention to the fundamental right of citizens to live.
The crash of the Air India Express points to the urgent need for all airports in India to be brought under the scanner. Their air-worthiness needs to be reviewed. If any airport is found to be falling short of international standards, it should be closed immediately.
According to media reports, the weather was fine in Mangalore, the tabletop runway dry and visibility clear. The runway was sufficient to land the aircraft. The airport was equipped with all safety systems. The pilots were experienced and the aircraft was fit. Yet, one of the worst disasters in India's aviation history took place, claiming 158 lives. It was perhaps the tabletop runway surrounded by woods that facilitated the human error-induced disaster. Tabletop runways may add to the landscape. But are they safe?
P. Esakki Muthu,
Yet another costly human error! The reaction time for passengers was very little (“People didn't have time to remove seat belts,” May 23). Human errors, in aircraft, railways or roadways, are on the rise. In many instances, it is fatigue that leads to fatal accidents. The skies are crowded with hovering aircraft. Strict monitoring of air movements and control of human error are the immediate need of the hour if Mangalore-like disasters are to be avoided.
In California, wearing of seat belts in cars is mandatory. My driving instructor, who taught me how to fasten the seat belt 40 years ago, also told me that it was important to learn how to unfasten it quickly. He advised the class to practise it as seat belts come in many designs. Unfastening seat belts during a crisis should form part of the safety instructions to passengers.
Jayananda H. Hiranandani,