Home india-news Air India directs pilots to maintain ‘sterile’ cockpits amid safety violations | Latest News India

Air India directs pilots to maintain ‘sterile’ cockpits amid safety violations | Latest News India

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Air India directs pilots to maintain ‘sterile’ cockpits amid safety violations | Latest News India

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New Delhi: Air India on Tuesday directed its pilots to keep the cockpits “sterile”, days after the aviation regulator issued notices to the airline’s top officials for not reacting fast enough to a violation of safety norms by one of its pilots who entertained a female friend in the cockpit.

On April 21, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) off-rostered the entire crew of the flight pending investigation (Representational image)
On April 21, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) off-rostered the entire crew of the flight pending investigation (Representational image)

The violation by the Air India pilot in the Delhi-Dubai AI 915 flight on February 27, first reported by HT, came to light after a member of the flight’s cabin crew complained about the incident, in which a female friend of the pilot allegedly spent over an hour in the cockpit, to the airline on March 3 .

On April 21, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) off-rostered the entire crew of the flight pending investigation. The aviation regulator also issued show cause notices to the airline’s chief executive officer (CEO), Campbell Wilson, and its safety head to explain the delay in reporting the matter and acting on it.

“Recent incidents have highlighted that there have been instances of a lapse in maintaining a sterile cockpit, which resulted in avoidable errors posing flight safety hazards. This reinforced the importance of maintaining a sterile cockpit from the start of push back until 10,000 feet and again until engine shutdown, in order to keep the crew focused on the dynamic and rapidly changing environment and to enhance situational awareness,” the airline’s order dated May 1 read.

“Any breach of this (maintaining sterile cockpit) will result in appropriate levels of administrative deterrent and correction,” the airline added, warning its pilots.

In the order issued by its operations department, the airline defined the concept of a “sterile cockpit” as an environment that prohibits non-essential conversation and distractions such as crew entry/exit, texting, browsing.

This practice, the airline said, has been recommended during ground operations and below 10,000 feet in various standard operating procedures (SOPs), crew resource management (CRM) guidelines, and company recommended practices.

Highlighting the importance of a sterile cockpit, the airline further said that as air traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, it is increasingly important to remain focused on the task at hand and avoid distractions.

“Any violation of the sterile cockpit concept reflects a lack of discipline and poor CRM, casting a negative light on us as professionals and at worst, creating an unsafe situation. Therefore, as an organization, department, and as professionals, it is essential to maintain a sterile cockpit at all times,” the order added.



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