Meghalaya govt for probe into pilots violating rules

Meghalaya map
Shillong, June 18: The Meghalaya government has sought a probe to verify a report that pilots of the Alliance Air, a subsidiary of national carrier Air India, have violated basic safety rules, risking lives of hundreds of passengers.

"I have asked my principal secretary to get the information from the concerned agencies and ministries. If the report is true, it is very unbecoming on the part of the airline service," state transport minister A T Mondal told PTI over phone from his constituency in Garo hills.

The minister took cognisance of a television channel report which alleged that two pilots working for Alliance Air in Kolkata have violated basic safety rules in the last three months, putting hundreds of lives at risk.

Alliance Air, a subsidiary of national carrier Air India, operates low-cost flights between cities like Kolkata and others in the North-East.

The TV report quoting records said that on March 20, a pilot operating a flight from Shillong to Kolkata, decided at the last minute to change the runway he would use to take-off.

"Close to 30 passengers were on board. Records show there were strong winds near the airport. So the pilot decided to abandon runway 4, used for virtually every plane taking off from Shillong. That's because the other runway 22 is very short and faces a range of hills, factors that could lead to a crash. Alliance Air in fact forbids its pilots from using Runway 22 - a diktat the pilot ignored at the last minute," the report said.

It also alleged that a pilot ignored precautions required of him despite having serious medical condition.

"We are also communicating with the authorities at Umroi airport in Shillong for verification of the reports. If the reports are true, action should be taken against the erring officials by the DGCA or Civil Aviation Ministry. You cannot risk the lives of so many passengers," Mondal added.

The Alliance Air operates Shillong-Kolkata flights six days a week.


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