Two days after the Emirates EK521 flight carrying 300 passengers and crew from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai crash-landed at the Dubai International Airport, former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor voiced his concern at the “visibly inferior” aircrafts that the airline operates on its Kerala route compared to its European sector.
Posting on his Facebook page, Tharoor said, “I have taken flights on this route many times myself and have been concerned about the age and condition of the aircraft Emirates seems to use on this sector. These are visibly inferior to the aircraft on Emirates' European sectors, for example.”
His comments came hours after Khaleej Times reported that the 13-year-old Emirates aircraft had flown 60 hours in five days prior to its crash-landing in Dubai.
While the cause of the crash is still being investigated, the former UN diplomat called on Emirates “to investigate not only the specific circumstances of this crash-landing but also to review their policy on the type, age and quality of aircraft used on the Dubai-Kerala sector.”
However, experts point out that Emirates isn’t the only airline that allegedly reserves “inferior” aircrafts for the Indian sector. Captain Mohan Ranganathan, an aviation safety consultant notes, “Many airlines use the worst aircrafts for the Indian sector. The timings for Indian flights are also unsuitable.”
Capt. Ranganthan, however, blames the civil aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for not hauling up leading airlines for their poor quality of aircrafts. “The regulator keeps quiet. This is a prime sector in international aviation,” he says. Capt. Ranganathan observes that unless the DGCA intervenes and finds out the age and quality of aircrafts used on the Indian sector, the standards are unlikely to change.
But that’s not all. Calling Indian passengers “rats” and “stupid” for scrambling to get their baggage before evacuating from the Emirates aircraft, a flight attendant’s racist rant on Facebook has outraged several people, who are now questioning the quality of service on-board many airlines.
Weighing in on the outrage that followed this video, Capt. Ranganathan points out, “None of the safety briefings tell you to leave your baggage behind on the aircraft when there is an emergency.” He also notes that most airlines have instructions only in Hindi and English for the Indian sector rather than regional languages.