HC direction to govt, DGCA on safety features in planes

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New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation to consider as representation the plea seeking investigation to ascertain presence of ‘optional safety features’ in planes and to also frame guidelines on this.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C Harishankar, while disposing of the petition, asked the DGCA and Civil Aviation Ministry to decide on it after giving a personal hearing to the petitioner.

The petition, filed by lawyer Yugansh Mittal, sought directions for setting up of a panel to investigate presence of ‘optional safety features’ in planes, and framing of guidelines regulating the practice.

It also prayed for directions to collect data on optional safety features, their availability and cost, and to make optional safety features mandatory for all aircraft operating in India.

Senior Advocate N, Hariharan, appearing for the petitioner, said the DGCA and the Ministry didn’t have adequate data on optional safety features.

Airlines were keeping passenger in dark about aavaibility of ‘ptional safety features’ in the planes, it alleged.

Citing the example of Lion Air and Ethopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, it said, investigators found that both the crashed planes lacked some optional safety features. The absence of optional features — angle of attack indicator and a disagree light — could have played a part in crashes, it said.

Though Boeing 737 Max 8 planes come with factory-fitted ‘optional safety features’, Indian carriers were being sold stripped-down version, it said. “These optional safety features are industry secrets with almost Kafkaesque opacity and confidentiality,” the plea read.



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