Aviation Safety Management Society of India(ASMSI) takes this opportunity to compliment MOCA, DGCA, AAI, BCAS and other aviation related agencies for taking number of proactive initiatives to boost the sagging morale of Aviation Industry during the challenging and unprecedented situation created by CORONA.The Aviation Industry is expected to be in quite difficult times if not in dire straits and certainly requires big support and financial package for its survival. The Core Objective of ASMSI is to assist in promoting Safety and Efficiency of the Aviation Operations in the country and we remain committed to our Motto-Safety First and Safety Always.In our considered opinion,without safety,there is very limited possibility for economic viability and survival. ASMSI has worked out certain areas of safety concerns during lockdown and after,which need to be given due attention.The Safety issues which are appended below, need the kind attention of the Regulators,Air lines,General Aviation Aircraft,Helicopters,Airport Operators,Air Traffic Controllers,Ground Handling Agencies, MRO’s, Aircraft Helicopter Manufacturers and other aviation related agencies.
- Currently, it is the Pre Monsoon Season which experiences frequent thunderstorm,dust storms,hail storm,lightening and strong gusty wind conditions. Aircraft, Helicopters parked in the open in close proximity, that too in large numbers,are susceptible to serious damage due to adverse weather conditions. Pre Monsoon Season also experiences Kaal Baisakhi, a very violent weather phenomenon, in the area between Kolkata and Patna with its core lying along the line joining Ranchi,Chhota Nagpur hills, Jamshedpur, Barrackpore and Bhuvneshwar. Aircraft.
- Helicopters operating in these areas have to be particularly very careful since Kal Baisakhi can be a very serious hazard to aircraft on ground as well as in the Air.
- Almost all the Aircraft, Helicopters are on ground and most of them are parked outside in the open. The temperatures are rising every day and high temperatures on the aircraft,helicopters in the open,pose a major threat, particularly to the electronic equipment of these machines.
- High temperature also result in drying of grass,foliage which may result in fire.Strong winds can easily make the fire jump the concrete areas and reach the Aircraft, Helicopters. With so many aircraft and helicopters parked in close proximity,fire can lead to major catastrophy and hence this area needs special attention.
- Sabotage by anti national elements cannot be ruled out under prevailing security situation and require full alertness from Security and Intelligence agencies.
- The likelihood of the rats,reptiles entering the parked Aircraft ,Helicopters through the undercarriage and damaging the aircraft, helicopters is quite high.
- Birds making nests wherever they can find a place on aircraft,helicopters is a hazard and can not be ignored since the birds find it attractive to make shelter on aircraft,helicopters parked for a long time.
- The Pilots,Maintenance Crew, other support personnel and even most of the ATC Crew are going to return on active duty after a gap of almost 40 plus days. They need to remain updated with their knowledge,skills and recency wherever required,lest safety is compromised.
- All the Operators are experiencing financial stress and may get in a great hurry to generate revenue and make up their losses.The tendency and temptation to take shortcuts in Operations,Maintenance and other related areas,compromise in compliance of rules,regulations and SOP’s etc can be a serious hazards to safety.
- Post COVID lockdown, which will be lifted,of course in phases,the Air,Ground and ATC Crew will be operating during adverse weather conditions experienced during extreme Summer,Pre monsoon and Monsoon months and they will be under great pressure to undertake the flights so as to generate revenue for the Company. Pilots,Engineers and other personnel operating under pressure conditions may pose major flight safety hazard and it needs to be addressed.
- Further,the Air Crew as well as Ground and ATC crew will be operating under tough conditions due to lack of adequate suitable transportation,boarding,lodging facilities ,deduction in pay and allowances,perks and concern about their own and their family health.
- Due to disruption in manufacturing and supplies all around the world and massive orders backlog,the availability of spares and critical equipment will be a cause of great concern.
- Enforcing Social distancing,use of mask,crowd control, sanitisation, conducting temperature and allied medical tests, quirentine, security checks and potential of reckless behaviour by some of the employees and passengers under stressful conditions, pose hazards to safety.Aviation Safety Management Society of India(ASMSI) wishes to request the Regulator to conduct a Video Conference with the CEOs, Accountable Executives and Department Heads of the Operators,highlighting these aspects and suitable instructions should be issued to all concerned,for strict compliance to ensure that safety is not compromised at any cost. The Operators need to strike a healthy balance between Economic Revival, Viability and Safety of operations. Safety first and Safety Always should remain the motto if we are to make successful revival and economic viability.It is also recommended that all the Operators conduct internal safety audit of their Ops and Maintenance departments keeping the above aspects in mind, identify hazards in a Proactive manner and take prompt remedial measures.
- Accountable Executives of the Operators should be impressed upon to fully involve themselves in ensuring high standards of safety in their respective organisations. We are conscious of the fact that the Aviation Professionals from DGCA and Operators are highly knowledgeable and must be fully involved and already working on the lines which have been covered above.ASMSI will be more than willing to assist the Regulator and the Operators towards spread of knowledge and awareness,in conduct of audits and enhancing safety of Aviation Operations.Let us all join hands at this hour of crisis to bounce back with safety and efficiency.
Safety First and Safety Always