All steps to ensure air safety, more powers to regulator: Patel

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) The government proposes to delegate more powers to the aviation regulator on air safety, based on the recommendations of a new panel set up a week after the Mangalore air crash May 22, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said Thursday.

The panel, called the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, set up under Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) S.N.A. Zaidi with 28 members drawn from various fields related with aviation, held its first meeting here, presided over by Patel.

‘We have had a tragic accident but we should not be now found lacking on any front. We will do all that is necessary,’ Patel told reporters after the meeting. ‘We have to meet the challenges of the future. This is a step in that direction.

‘We will also bring a legislation to strengthen the DGCA,’ he said, adding that a court of inquiry on the Mangalore air crash — that claimed 158 lives — will also be set up soon.

The first meeting saw some special invitees in attendance including officials from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the US Federal Aviation Authority, and aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.

The panel will meet every month for three months, following which it will hold quarterly meetings, Patel said. The suggestions and recommendations made by the panel will be given top priority.

The meeting came against the backdrop of ‘strict’ directives to all carriers from the aviation regulator, asking pilots to refrain from forced soft landings or leaving the cockpit inadequately manned when an aircraft is airborne.

‘Ensure correct landings are aimed by pilots, rather than achieving ‘soft’ landings that may compromise the runway-stopping distance required,’ the DGCA had said in the missive.

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