Day 1 of flights resumption: Airlines walk an extra mile to ensure safe ops

A passenger undergoes screening after arriving at Kempegowda International airport for domestic travel, during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, in Bengaluru
Airlines went the extra mile to ensure safe operations on Day 1 of service resumption, deputing seniormost pilots for flights, and carrying out engineering audit of their aircraft.

“We have instructed only captains will carry out take-off and landings on the first day. First officers will do the monitoring of cockpit instruments, radio calls and provide other support as required by the captain,” said Captain Manish Uppal, head of operations, AirAsia India.

Domestic operations were suspended on March 24. While cargo and relief operations are underway, a majority of aircraft had to be maintained in proper condition.

Regulations require pilots and crew to undergo recurrent training annually. Pilots are also required to perform at least three take-offs and landings in 90 days. Simulator training is required in case a pilot has not flown in the past 90 days.

While the Director General of Civil Aviation has given certain relaxations, airlines are ensuring their pilots are abreast with requirements.

Last week, IndiGo carried out a few training flights for its pilots to allow them to take-off and land. Its pilots underwent online courses because of the long gap in flying.

Alliance Air Chief Executive Officer C S Subbiah said the engineering department carried out a quality check and audit of the airline’s 19 ATR planes before resuming operations.

“We developed online training modules for our staff and around 85 per cent of them have completed the courses. We also started simulator training for pilots last week,” said Uppal.

Simulator training could be carried out only after receiving permission from the government since all educational and training establishments are closed.

Vistara rostered highly experienced senior management pilots as well as instructors for the first few days of operations. Additionally, all crew are current with regards to their recency,” an airline spokesperson said.

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