In response to a recent safety violation by one of its pilots who allowed a female friend into the cockpit, Air India has instructed its pilots to maintain “sterile” cockpits.
Indian DGCA had previously issued notices to the airline’s top officials for not taking prompt action against the violation.
Air India Directive to Pilots for Sterile Cockpits
The Air India pilot violated safety norms by allowing a female friend to enter the cockpit during the Delhi-Dubai AI 915 flight on February 27. This incident was brought to the airline’s attention on March 3 by a cabin crew member who reported it.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took the entire flight crew off-roster on April 21. Further, an investigation is launched.
The DGCA also issued show cause notices to the CEO, Campbell Wilson, and the safety head of the airline. Subsequently, to explain the delay in reporting and addressing the matter.
According to an order dated May 1, Air India has instructed its pilots to maintain a sterile cockpit from the start of pushback until 10,000 feet and again until engine shutdown to avoid avoidable errors posing flight safety hazards.
The order was issued following recent incidents highlighting a lapse in maintaining a sterile cockpit. Air India warned pilots that any breach of this regulation would result in appropriate administrative deterrent and correction.
The objective is to keep the crew focused on the dynamic and rapidly changing environment to enhance situational awareness.
The airline’s operations department issued an order defining a “sterile cockpit” as an environment that disallows unnecessary conversations and distractions such as crew entry or exit, texting, and browsing.
Importance of Sterile Cockpits
According to the airline, maintaining a sterile cockpit has been recommended in various standard operating procedures. Further, in crew resource management guidelines and company-recommended rules during ground operations and below 10,000 feet.
The airline emphasized the significance of a sterile cockpit. Stating that it is crucial to remain focused on the task at hand. Subsequently, avoid distractions as air traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels.
According to the order issued by the airline’s operations department, violating the sterile cockpit concept reflects poor crew resource management (CRM) and a lack of discipline. Which may create an unsafe situation.
Hence, the airline always emphasizes the need to maintain a sterile cockpit. Further, the organization, department, and professionals need to do so.
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