Home / News / India /  Pilot claims AirAsia India suspended him for flagging safety issues

NEW DELHI: An AirAsia India pilot on Monday accused the airline of suspending him for flagging serious safety-related violations at the company.

In his tweets, Gaurav Taneja, an Airbus A320 captain with AirAsia India alleged that the airline violated several safety protocols, which endanger the lives of passengers on board of the company's aircraft.

However, he didn't elaborate on most of the accusations he labeled against his employers.

The pilot's tweets led to #BoycottAirAsiaIndia trending on Twitter with about 26,000 tweets on Monday afternoon.

A spokesperson at AirAsia India -- a joint venture between AirAsia Berhad (49%) and Tata Sons (51%) -- didn't offer comments stating that the issue is being internally investigated.

An AirAsia India official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the pilot was suspended due to disciplinary issues and his suspension was not related to reporting safety lapses at the airline.

"There are some disciplinary issues due to which he has been suspended. This issue is being dealt with internally," he said.

When contacted, a senior DGCA official, without elaborating further, said the regulator is looking into the incident.

"DGCA has taken note of the concerns raised by some stakeholders against a particular Airline and its approach to safety. DGCA has already started an investigation into the issues flagged and shall take appropriate action based on the outcome of the said investigation," DGCA said in a statement.

Taneja has accused AirAsia India management for asking him to work during his day-off during 9 June as he had taken a sick leave on 7 June.

"When I started protesting against this, the chief of flight safety said in an email that I report sick and fatigue frequently. They (management) also suggested undergoing lifestyle counselling and medical," Taneja said in a video message on Twitter on Monday.

"Sick report or fatigue report is a non-punitive policy which is documented by the regulator. This is not followed at the airline," he added.

Taneja also alleged that AirAsia India was not following certain DGCA-mandated safety-related guidelines after the breakout of covid-19 pandemic. He, however, didn't elaborate further.

"On 22-23 March, I delayed my flight for about 40 minutes as safety-related guidelines were not being followed by the airline," he said.

"I gave feedback that certain regulations were not being followed up by the airline. But, the airline took no action. There were several lapses," he added.

Taneja said that he decided not to fly on 24 March as the airline was still not observing certain safety measures that were repeatedly flagged by him.

"On 4 May, I was shown a show cause notice which stated that the company incurred losses because of my actions. It was clear administration issues were labelled on me. It was clear that they are unhappy with me for pointing out safety lapses," he added.

Gaurav Taneja, a former IIT-Kharagpur graduate, and a former IndiGo captain, joined AirAsia India in May 2019, as one of its captains on its Airbus A320 fleet.

He's also a fitness blogger and a digital influencer with over 200,000 twitter followers.

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