Here’s Why Air India’s Airbus A319s Are Being Audited

Following a complaint by a passenger onboard an Air India A319, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered an audit of all Air India A319 aircraft. While the fleet is still in service, the planes will all be checked to ensure the same problem doesn’t exist on others in the fleet.

Air India A319
All of Air India’s A319s will be audited. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commmons 

What is the issue?

The DGCA’s order stems from the complaint of a passenger who was flying Air India between Kolkata and Aizawl on an A319. The complaint states that a broken panel was blocking access to an emergency exit door, meaning it could have been a hindrance in case of an evacuation. Safety protocol is paramount for any plane, and the DGCA has preemptively ordered that all of Air India’s 22 A319s be checked for this defect.

Air India A319
A broken panel obstructed access to an emergency exit on an Air India A319. Photo: Andrew Thomas via Flickr 

The order could mean that Air India is forced to ground some of its A319s to fix this damaged panel. It is unknown how long the issue, if found, might take to resolve. However, panels are generally quickly replaced.

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Air India uses its fleet of 22 A319-100s to service a variety of shorter domestic routes. The airline has a large number of A320 family aircraft and the A319 makes up a large part of 79 narrow-body fleet. The airline has also received three single-configuration A319s to service markets that have a low premium cabin demand.

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What does the disruption mean for Air India?

Air India has been preparing for full privatization, with the government investing millions into this goal. This money was to reduce Air India’s heavy debt and finance its large fleet of over 120 aircraft. The planned privatization is set to open for bids in the upcoming months. Air India’s fleet is one of it’s most valuable assets, meaning issues like this could make potential investors jittery about the quality of the fleet.

Air India A320neo
Air India is being prepared for full privatization. Photo: Airbus

Air India has been involved in a number of scrapes in the past few years, from maintenance issues to staff issues, but its fleet has remained an asset. If it does come to be known that its planes have defects it might change the perception of an investor. The DGCA’s proactive response means that these issues can be ironed out before bidding opens for the flag carrier.

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Overall

Safety is the top priority for airlines and regulators alike and the DGCA audit reflects that. The problem does seem minimal but we could see some disruptions in case a number of aircraft have the same issue. The new does not help Air India in its bid to find a new owner in the upcoming months, especially since its fleet is one of its most attractive assets (minus its slots maybe).

The airline has ordered immediate compliance with the audit and we should be able to see the results of the same very soon.

What do you think about Air India A319 audits and its effect on the carrier’s privatization?

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Geoff herbert

Love the aircraft.Quiet, spacious, safe.

Let down in co.fort by Qantas low quality seats and screens in compressed 3-4- 3.fit.

As flown yesterday economy Singapore to MelBourne.

Buddy Good

It is absolutely necessary to check for the safety of the passengers travelling with Air India. Secondly, Air Imdia is not utilizing all possible ways of income, which is why it is running towards a bankruptcy. privatization of Air India will help recover from bankruptcy & also increase its means of income.

Dilbag Singh

WOW … AIR INDIA overhead PANEL IS CAUSING MORE SAFETY CONCERN THAN THE INDIGO’s FAULTY ENGINES .. DGCA SHOULD HAVE GROUNDED THE WHOLE NEO FLEET OF INDIGO RATHER THAN AUDITING AI A319 …

S. Venkat

No link between these 2 issues. Aircraft Audit is a Technical issue, which is Myst fircsafety reasons & Privatisation unscathed survival issue in an highly volatile Aviation market. For Gods sake, pray that the Privatisation process gets over quickly & as an insider/staff since 25 years, AI has to go back to the real owners—-TATAs at the earliest. ..Jai Hind

Rita Chatterji

In this case, it’s passenger safety that’s being compromised.However, what comes across as being stressed is the likely hindrance the audit report might pose to it’s privatization that’s just a couple of months away. Authorities, pkease treat passenger safety as your top priority.

H k prakash

Anyone buying Air Ibdia has to be a fool. The babus ensure that lousy aircraft are hired. Bought aircraft are priced high to account for bribes. I used to fly their sastha night flights bom blr singapore. Nice cabin crew but horrible aircraft. Rattling sounds, non working accessories. No one can revive this dinosaur
NDA should bite the bullet and just let it die, like Jet Air. Let others take the aircraft, slots and employees

Jitendra

I was travelling from Delhi to Bhubaneswar. I found that the seat which was allocated to me was broken one. I was about to fall then noticed and changed the seat. AI should take care of such things

Hibou

Your headline says A320 but your article reports on the A319. Apart from that, this is a storm in a teacup.

Samaresh Dhar

While flying from Tokyo (Narita) to Delhi (AI 307) in B787 (Dreamliner) on 17th February found door of one toilet closed by gumtape (not to be used). Then videos of displays of 2 seats in the row I was sitting not working.

Kalyansundaram ganesh

Another way of telling air India is burden. Is DGCA so strict with other private airlines. Time and again they have flouted safety and security regulations are they being audited and if so why not being publicised.

Mark

Air India does not ‘sell’ its first class seats…… just in case some Government numptie nobody decides to fly. You can pay for an ‘upgrade’ to first class but this is not given till 1 hr before the flight, and even then, if the seats are empty you may not get the upgrade!!!
These are the most expensive seats (obviously!) and they seem to be generally empty. Air India should look after its premium pax………and make more money!

Rajinder kour

I flay this month in my food hairs I show them then they say to me food is complementary we can’t help you I think really I feel sooo bad even in my seat where is the screen I see somebody done vomiting is not clear properly bad experience