How safe is flying in India?
But as a frequent flier I wonder if it’s an impertinent question to ask Indian pilots.
Why? Sample this: Around 50 pilots each year in India are grounded because they had consumed alcohol before flying, the country’s civil aviation authorities say.
This year around 20 pilots have already been grounded for a brief period.
As if pilots who love their bottle were not enough, last week we had a gaggle of monitor lizards, jackals and birds saunter on the Delhi airport runway, delaying around 100 flights.
And not to speak of mid-air near-misses that we keep reading about in newspapers because of cramped airspace, lack of runways and increasing air traffic.
Then there is poor maintainence of aircraft that result in frequent flight cancellations.
A pilot friend says he often gets requests from his company to fly at extremely short notice. “I have often refused if I am partying and they ask me to fly out of turn,” he told me.
But wait there is more. Forget flying, earlier this month, a Ukrainian tourist found out how unsafe was walking, when his father died after he was hit from behind by a bus carrying crew members inside New Delhi’s airport.