The number of serious incidents has more than doubled in the last seven years.
India sees eight aviation accidents every year on average, but most don’t involve scheduled airlines.
Non-scheduled operators, which include chartered and company flights, account for 39.3 per cent of 56 accidents in the last seven years, according to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data from 2014 to 2020, the latest year with numbers available from the Civil Aviation Statistics Handbook.
Training institutes account for 28.6 per cent of accidents.
According to the government data, the share of scheduled operators is 23.2 per cent for the period under consideration (see chart 1).
An accident typically refers to an occurrence involving death, serious injury, damage or structural failure to the aircraft and even where the aircraft goes missing or is otherwise inaccessible according to the Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Rules, 2012.
A serious incident is one with a high probability of an accident.
Flying training institutes and non-scheduled operators, including regional carriers, use smaller aircraft, said an aviation expert.
Runways and airstrip infrastructure at smaller airports don’t have the same standard as in major airports and metros.
“They are subject to a higher risk,” he said.
Aviation safety in India is linked to what is followed elsewhere in the world, said the person.
Most aircraft are leased from international lessors and deployed across the globe requiring standardised maintenance practices for the aircraft defined by regulators worldwide.
Further, according to him, aeroplane manufacturers also play an important role in ensuring safety standards are maintained.
“Global standards are followed in India,” he said.
The overall number of accidents has not changed significantly over the years.
There were nine instances in 2012, which dropped to six in 2014, and seven in 2020.
The pre-pandemic 2019 figures show ten instances.
Aviation numbers have seen a significant rise in the interim.
There were 60.7 million domestic passengers in 2013-q014. This had increased to 140.3 million in 2018-19 before the pandemic took hold.
As accounted for by the DGCA, international passengers rose from 43.1 million to 63.9 million in the same period.
The number of serious incidents has seen an increase. They numbered 25 in 2020.
The latest DGCA report had data going back to 2016, which shows 11 serious incidents for the year.
Data from previous reports indicate that the 2014 figure was also 11.
Thus, the number of serious incidents has more than doubled in the last seven years for which data is available.
Scheduled operators account for the majority of reported serious incidents. Their average share over the last five years has been 91 per cent.
Non-scheduled, private, and foreign operators are spread over non-scheduled, private and foreign operators (see chart 2).
The chart shows changes over the last five years.
There have been multiple instances of air safety issues which have come up in the recent past.
The DGCA sent a notice to SpiceJet over safety concerns last week.
*Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com
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