New Delhi: An air safety council formed in the aftermath of India’s worst aviation disaster in a decade will consider how to tighten regulations at its first meeting in the Capital this week.
The Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, led by Nasim Zaidi, director general of civil aviation, and including top airline chiefs, was established last week after 158 were killed in an air crash in Mangalore.
The panel will study existing safety regulations and suggest changes, according to two officials belonging to the council.
“The council is going to be inaugurated on 3 June. The purpose is fairly wide-ranging,” said one of the officials who declined to be identified, adding that the group would look at the health of the system.
Civil aviation minister Praful Patel will inaugurate the council after which the grouping of about 30 will discuss safety measures.
There are no former bureaucrats or retired director generals of civil aviation on the council, according to the list reviewed by Mint. It has people from specific domains such as flight operations, airworthiness, navigation, aerodromes and heliports, aircraft engineering and human performance.
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s former chief Madhavan Nair and retired air vice-marshall K. Sridharan, who heads Rotary Wing Society of India, are part of the council, as are Arvind Jadhav, chairman and managing director of Air India, Nikos Kardassis, CEO of Jet Airways (India) Ltd, Aditya Ghosh, president, IndiGo, Sanjay Aggarwal, CEO of Spicejet Ltd, and Hitesh Patel, executive vice-president, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
The chairman of three biggest airport operators—Airports Authority of India, Delhi International Airport Ltd and Mumbai International Airport Ltd—will present their views.
The advisory panel’s one-year term will also feature contributions from the International Civil Aviation Organization, Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS members. Its role will be advisory in nature.
“It will also develop, examine and recommend incorporation of best regulatory practices, recommend short, medium and long-term measures for safety enhancement and reflect public views on aviation safety matters,” the aviation ministry said in a statement.
Aviation minister Patel has said he will look into the possibility of setting up a separate crash investigation board. It is unclear whether the council is the first step toward this.
In the US, Canada, the European Union and Australia, the accident investigation body is independent of the regulator unlike in India, where the Directorate General of Civil Aviation performs both functions.
“This (separation) has been thought necessary so that the investigator can criticize the regulator if he feels that this is justified,” said Paul Hayes, safety director at London-based Ascend Worldwide.