AirAsia India sacks pilot Gaurav Taneja who alleged safety violations at airline

His termination has come to light hours after the DGCA issued a showcause notice to a senior executive of AirAsia India over Taneja’s allegations of safety norm violations.
Gaurav Taneja
Gaurav Taneja
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AirAsia India pilot and blogger Gaurav Taneja was terminated by the airline on Friday. Taneja tweeted the same around midnight on Monday.

“I was terminated from AirAsia for raising safety issues! Now, the same issues are raised by DGCA to Air Asia India. Justice will prevail!” he tweeted. This comes a fortnight after he was suspended from the airline.

His suspension came to light after Taneja tweeted on June 14 that he was suspended by AirAsia India "for standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers.” Following this, he posted a video on YouTube titled "Reasons behind suspension from my pilot job.”

Sources confirmed his termination to TNM and said that he was sent a showcause notice even before he posted the video. 

“He was terminated on Friday. If you see the timeline of events, the showcause notice was first sent to him and then he responded on social media. All this is because of him having behavioural issues which weren’t in sync with company policies, and this was monitored over the last one year,” the person said.

TNM reached out to AirAsia India for an official confirmation and is yet to receive a response from the company. 

Soon after Taneja’s termination, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on Sunday, issued a showcause notice to a senior executive of AirAsia India over Taneja’s allegations of violation of safety norms.

A DGCA official said that the showcause notice has been served after the pilot's allegations.

"AirAsia India confirms receipt of the notice and we are assisting the regulator in its fact-finding process. We will fully cooperate with the regulator," said an AirAsia India spokesperson.

Taneja, who has 2.93 million subscribers on YouTube, first flagged safety issues at AirAsia through a tweet on June 13, though he didn’t disclose any details.

In his video on June 15, however, he made several allegations with respect to the violation of safety norms by the airline. He alleged that he was made to work on his off days and said that putting sick pilots in the cockpit is risky. When he escalated this to the chief of the safety of the airline, he allegedly wrote back that he undergo lifestyle counselling and medical tests again.

He also alleged that protocols, that were in place in March when coronavirus was spreading, were not followed properly by the airline (although he does not outline which), and stated that from March 24 onwards, he refused to fly.

He also alleged that the airline asks its pilots to do 98% of landings in "Flap 3" mode, which allows it to save fuel. Failing to do this is considered a violation by the airline, he alleged. Flaps are part of wings of an aircraft and they are engaged to create a drag during a landing or a take-off.

Watch the full video to know more:

Following this, Amit Singh, the former Chief of Safety at AirAsia India, also tweeted that he resigned with just a day’s notice and refused to work with the company because the company allegedly asked him to hide safety issues.

“As the Chief of Flight Safety of AirAsia India after launch, I resigned and left with 1 days’ notice. I refused to work for them for a minute after they asked me to hide safety related issues. Such is the safety culture there. They accused me of working for @DGCAIndia instead of them,” he tweeted.

It was after this that DGCA took note of the concerns raised and began investigating the airline.

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