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Air India Pilot Suspended For "wrong" Diversion  
User currently offlineTKMCE From India, joined May 2002, 841 posts, RR: 2
Posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 8034 times:

The following rather strange report appeared in Malayala Manorama, a local language daily yesterday! A rough translation goes like this

****
The contract of the pilot who operated Air India flight FRA DEL on 23 December has been terminated according to Air India sources. The pilot diverted the aircraft to Ahemedabad due to fog in Delhi causing great incovenience to passengers. The diversion should have been to Bombay which is the airlines main base and where there were stand by crews available to transport the passengers to Delhi without delay. The Air India sources denied news reports that the reason the pilot had to divert the flight to Ahmedabad was because of the expiry of his flight duty time.
****

Can anybody throw some more light on this??? Too many things which doesnt add up if you ask me!

Does Air India still have contract pilots?

Also I assume there can be extensions given for FDTL in such cases like this or am I wrong??

And finally can this also be due to the fact that he might have waited around for the weather to clear (the flight was scheduled to arrive at 1020) and then fuel might have caused the diversion when the visibilty did not improve???





30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 7924 times:

I think this is a step in the right direction. I thik the management must start taking action agianst arrogant staff (not just pilots) wo brig a bad name to what is a great airline.

Anyone found dishing out freebies to ex-Employees, stelaing stuff from onboard aircraft and selling them to shops in Vile Parle (Really! Would you believe cups and saucers and rather expensive looking plates?) and generally breaking any rule that goes against the Companys image should be fired pronto or atleast demoted.


User currently offlineGoboeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2700 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 7877 times:

I don't think this is good, because in the future, captains wanted not to divert to BOM could be influenced by this and think "well I want to keep my job and avoid problems so we'll go to BOM". Then it turns into a safety issue.

Nick


User currently offlineGamps From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 469 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7773 times:

This incident has been picked up international wires, so I read this incident report in San Jose Mercury News too!

Indian Express first reported the incident.

The pilot was already over 40 minutes into duty time, but AI asked him to fly. Also he was on contract after retirement. So his contract was cancelled.

Not sure what to comment on this issue, though I bet the media will be all over if he had flown and something bad had happenned - like crash. We could have been assured of banner headlines "AI 747 crashes:Pilot was forced by Air India to fly even though he was tired", "Pilot fatigue crashes a AI Jumbo".

Some more details here:

####
Air India sacks pilot for walking out on passengers
Thursday January 8 2004 00:00 IST

MUMBAI: Air-India on Wednesday terminated the contract of a pilot who had refused to operate an international flight saying it was beyond his ``duty time''.

Captain A. Kaushal had walked out leaving 300 passengers, mostly foreign tourists, stranded for nearly 40 hours.

To make amends, Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy has also instructed the airline to send a letter of apology along with a gift to all passengers of the flight, said sources.

This website's newspaper, dated January 4, had reported the plight of the stranded passengers on the Frankfurt-Delhi flight, who had recorded their trauma in the form of protests scribbled on napkins, towels and later even placards at Mumbai airport. ``Kidnapped by Air India'', ``Never again to India'' and ``We don't want to come back'' are some of the slogans quoted in official reports of the incident.

The Frankfurt-Delhi AI-164 flight on December 23 had been diverted to Ahmedabad airport due to the fog in Delhi. But after landing the flight at Ahmedabad, Flight Commander Kaushal and his co-pilot M. Gulabani had walked out citing duty-time limitations.

They had not abided by the airline's directions to fly to Mumbai as an alternative and carry sufficient surplus fuel to hold over Delhi in the event of poor visibility, an A-I release said. A fresh set of crew had to be flown from Mumbai to operate the flight. And from Mumbai, the aircraft was then flown to Delhi when the fog cleared.

If directions had been followed and the flight diverted to Mumbai, the release added, the base-station relief crew would have been made available to take the flight back to Delhi, thus minimising hardship caused to the passengers.

The A-I release said the decision to sack Kaushal, who was on a post superannuation contract, was taken ``due to'' the reports that appeared in the media. ``This is a clear message to all Air-India employees that when it comes to customer incovenience arising out of human lapse, the company will take a tough stand,'' said Jitendra Bhargava, Director, HRD and Public Relations, Air-India.

``The termination of contract follows the Commander's failure to abide by the directions, which are 1) to use Mumbai as an alternate airport for Delhi and 2) to carry sufficient additional fuel for holding over Delhi in the event of poor visibility,'' added Bhargava.

According to the release, the management has also initiated action to streamline facilities at Mumbai airport, particularly in situations when several flights are simultaneously affected due to the fog in Delhi.

####


User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6204 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7748 times:

I'm a firm believer that the captain should retain unquestioned authority when it comes to safety issues concerning his flight.


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 5, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7664 times:

The pilot was Interviewed on NDTV & his version was totally different.
regds
HAWK



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineSM777 From India, joined Nov 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7593 times:


Finally the right signals to a pampered lot of Air India pilots.

Only one step in the direction of making Air India a world class airline......

lots more to go like

- new planes (777s, not A340s !!)
- privatisation
- re training cabin crew to be in line with the times
- using bilaterals
etc etc

Cheers!




User currently offlineZak From Greenland, joined Sep 2003, 1993 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 7452 times:

"I'm a firm believer that the captain should retain unquestioned authority when it comes to safety issues concerning his flight."
amen to that.
it is very worrying that a pilot gets flak for doing what he thinks is right for the safety of everyone.
- he was 100% right about refusing to fly any further due to duty limitations. they are there for a reason, the main reason being safe operations
- if he decided to divert to another airport he also had his reasons i am sure. after all it was a diversion, and if there is a diversion if the pilot decides he doesnt want to use the airport suggested by the airline i am sure he had his reasons. maybe he diverted there due to crew tiredness hence danger for the safety?

air india just proves to me that i know why i prefer not flying most asian airlines except a few. their human resources management (and often training) is simply not up to the level to be expected.



10=2
User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7300 times:

According to the report above, the pilot is said to have not followed company regulations and carried less fuel than what was required for the flight +extra for holding over DEL and diversion to BOM which is std company procedure.

Undoubtedly nobody is questioning the pilots decsion to land in AMD, but the pilot had to do that because he hadnt carried enough fuel! IUF he had done that, the aircraft could have diverted to BOM instead, he would have stayed within duty regulations and AI could have flown out the DEL pax on one of the morning BOM-DEL lfights thus not casuing so much trouble.

THer is no doubt therefore as to who is really to blame here.

-Roy


User currently offlinePe@rson From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 19233 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7279 times:

(777s, not A340s !!)"

Why? A340s AND B777s are world-class aircraft, both of which being extremely comfortable. UL's 340s are, for example, superb, as are BA's 777s. I believe it's a little unfair and unwarranted to differenciate like that, probably for personal - not economic or operational - reasons.



"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7242 times:


lots more to go like

- new planes (777s, not A340s !!)

Brrrr! Lets NOT go THERE please!


User currently offlinePe@rson From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 19233 posts, RR: 52
Reply 11, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 7217 times:

"Brrrr! Lets NOT go THERE please!"

Couldn't agree more!

---

I might be going back to India for a month in June. Big grin



"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 7182 times:

If you are coming down to Pune, give me a tinkle.

-Roy


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7054 times:

I'd like to clarify some points here that I picked up through the folks at AI ops involved with this case :

a) Kaushal is already retired from Air India at the mandatory retirement age of 58. Prior to May 2003, Air India would take back most pilots on 2-year contracts until they hit 60 due to shortage of crew. After the IPG union was de-recognized in May 2003 the new workrules allowed AI far more flexibility of scheduling pilots - so there were no more contracts offered to pilots in his cadre beyond June 2003.

b) AI ops has standing orders to pilots to fuel DEL-bound planes with sufficient fuel to circle 60 minutes and then to declare BOM as an alternate. Kaushal refused to do this ex-Frankfurt despite a warning from operations that he may not have enough fuel to circle and then make BOM. He filed AMD as an alternate, in direct contravention of standing orders.

c) By the time the aircraft landed in AMD, the weather in DEL had cleared enough to permit an immediate return there after a quick refueling. The cabin crew, flight engineer and co-pilot were all willing to extend duty time to enable them to make DEL but Kaushal chose to walk off the plane claiming his duty time had expired.

d) If Kaushal had followed the standing orders and loaded enough fuel to circle DEL for 60 minutes, the aircraft would have been able to land in DEL before his duty time expired.

e) If Kaushal had followed standing orders and loaded enough fuel to divert to BOM (assuming DEL weather had not cleared), the aircraft and passengers could have been returned to DEL within a few hours. Instead, a relief crew had to be flown up to AMD on a Jet Airways flight that evening who then completed the flight. Furthermore, the aircraft rotation schedule was also thrown off with one of the two 743 Combi out of place, forcing a substitution of equipment on the next day's service to BKK/NRT with huge losses to the airline due to reduced cargo capacity.

Bottom line remains that Kaushal (like most of the pilots still steaming about how their union got steamrolled in May) was trying to make a point by giving the airline bad publicity around Christmas time, thus forcing management to recongnize the new union they have been trying to get set up. Management called his bluff and fired him for directly contravening standing orders.

Refusing to extend his duty time was not the issue here. Failure to fuel the plane sufficiently in direct contravention of standing orders as well as the dispatcher's reccomendation was the reason for the termination.


User currently offlineKohflot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6920 times:

Sounds like the situation could have been avoided completely (or at least taken care of before departure) if there was a system of joint authority between the Dispatcher and Captain. In that situation, the Dispatcher would have most likely planned the fuel load and filed the flight plan. A Captain departing without the required minimum fuel wouldn't be subject only to company disciplinary action, but also legal action as well.....

User currently onlineNavigator From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 1209 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6839 times:

An airline acting against a captain who is believing he is acting in the interest of safety, deserves a bad reputation indeed. However perhaps we do not yet have all facts here sorted out. So lets not jump to conclusions yet.

An airline should back up it´s captains authority, not erode it and make them scared in their decision's.



747-400/747-200/L1011/DC-10/DC-9/DC-8/MD-80/MD90/A340/A330/A300/A310/A321/A320/A319/767/757/737/727/HS-121/CV990/CV440/S
User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6678 times:

A Captain departing without the required minimum fuel wouldn't be subject only to company disciplinary action, but also legal action as well.....

He was not below legal fuel minimums. He had enough fuel to fly to DEL and divert to AMD with legal reserves. However, company policy is that he have minimum fuel (as described above) + enough fuel for a BOM diversion (~200nm further than AMD) + 60 minutes additional fuel to circle DEL.

He didn't break the law. He did however wilfully violate company policy, causing inconvenience to customers. Accordingly the company fired him. Open and shut case.


User currently offlineKohflot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6663 times:

I guess what I'm getting at is that it sounds like the Captain ultimately decided what his alternate would be and how much fuel he'd take. That'd never fly (no pun intended) with a system like we have in the US....

User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6648 times:

That'd never fly (no pun intended) with a system like we have in the US....

It should not have flown with AI's system either, but AI dispatch in FRA is not handled locally but rather from LHR IIRC. Hence the captain had the final say for practical purposes as he is the guy who actually signed off on the fuel paperwork in Frankfurt.

Again, the captain DIDN'T work within the prescribed system. He chose to override it to make a stupid point about a union. He got fired for doing that.


User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1516 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6468 times:

I've said it before and I say it again... all interesting things with Indian aviation happen when I am far away and without access to A.net. Not fair! Not fair! Sad

But seriously, I see this differently. Airline Business in India has just crossed V1 and is speeding towards V2. Drag is bound to be there (as typified by the glorious example of Capt. Kaushal). Let's not look at this merely as a very duty/safety conscious Captain's righteous actions, but more from the point of view that he was trying to screw AI and bring the airline to face embarassment. Yes maybe a decade ago, his actions may have had the effect of an engine stalling on take-off, but with the evidence of a new aviation outlook in India, he bit off more than he could chew and quite rightly lost his job.

Good show AI.

rgds//Vimanav



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14030 posts, RR: 62
Reply 20, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6401 times:

On the other hand that Hapag-Lloyd pilot who crash landed his A300 at VIE a few years ago during flight was coming under pressure by his company who wanted him to press for MUC because the company had a hub there and would have been able to bring the passengers to their destination, opposed to landing in BUD, where they would have had to pay a huge amount for hotels.
I think the captain got caught between his concern for the safety of the flight and the bean counters who make the descisions concerning his future career.

Jan


User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 6212 times:

We need those private airlines to start going international NOW, and this Capt Kaushal throwback to socialism kind of case/event can only expedite the process.





User currently offlineBehramjee From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 4794 posts, RR: 43
Reply 22, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 6114 times:

Was it a B 743 Combi that he was flying or a B 744 coming in from FRA but originally starting its flight from ORD?

If its a B 744, then it shouldnt be too hard for him to find a job with another airline flying many B 744s...however if hes a B 743 pilot then it will be very hard as the B 747 classics are rapidly being retired for good unless he flies a freighter!!!


User currently offlineB777337 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 6088 times:

Capt. Kaushal had retired at the age of 58 and was on a contract of two years. He had few months to go before 60. A rather sad end to a career spanning 40 years.

User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6660 posts, RR: 21
Reply 24, posted (10 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5991 times:

Would he have landed over duty time in BOM?

25 TokyoNarita : The Captain is being held accountable for fueling differently against what the company specified prior to departure. His action resulted in costing th
26 Post contains images Airliner777 : Behramjee: "Was it a B 743 Combi that he was flying or a B 744 coming in from FRA but originally starting its flight from ORD?" I'm sure it was a B747
27 Mr.BA : I think some B747-300s are also certified for autoland. Another factor is whether Delhi airport's runways are able to handle Cat III landings. To pefo
28 B747-437B : The aircraft in question was a 743. The 744 does not have a Flight Engineer, which should have been the giveaway.
29 Airliner777 : Mr.BA: Totally agree. B747-437B: It is time for me to go to sleep. HEHEHEHE Regards, Adel
30 Post contains links B747-437B : http://web.mid-day.com/news/city/2004/january/74145.htm Capt. Kaushal has made a public statement about this incident. "The flight despatcher at Frank
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