DGCA Probe: Indigo Pilots Accused of Abusing Emergency Communication Channel

Photo: IndiGo_Airbus_A320neo_F-WWDG. Photo Credit: BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: IndiGo_Airbus_A320neo_F-WWDG. Photo Credit: BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – India’s DGCA has launched a probe against seven pilots of Indigo who was allegedly found discussing issues related to salaries and using abusive language on emergency communication radio frequencies.

As per reports by the Indian news agency PTI, the incident took place on 9th April, when pilots involved in this incident took onto 121.5 MHz frequency, which is used for communication for aircraft in distress.

While on this frequency, pilots were using foul and offensive language.

This frequency of 121.5 MHz is according to international norms, monitored constantly by the air traffic controllers on the ground to guide and help aircraft which are in distress while in flight.

Strike Action on the Way…

This fresh incident has put Indigo airlines in controversy again, after the recent incident of a few pilots suspended for planning and provoking strikes against the company on the grounds of salary cuts during Covid-19 crisis.

While the entire world was engulfed in the covid crisis, Indigo airlines had made cuts of up to 30% to their pilot’s salary due to demand drop and traffic suspension.

But as borders started opening again and travel restrictions were lifted by the Indian authorities, Indigo started witnessing a surge in the domestic travel sector and increased the salaries of affected pilots by 8% with another fresh round of increment by 6.5% by early November.

With the fresh suspension of pilots from duty by Indigo airlines, Airline Pilots’ Associating of India has taken a strong stand with the letter being sent to Indian Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia to look into this matter of unlawful suspension of pilots from the airlines for planning a strike.

Indigo pilots have previously taken to the mainstream media in India with their resentment with Indigo airlines, where pilots had the opinion that their concerns were not represented by the management.

Suspended Pilots…

Speaking on this situation, the association issued a statement saying:

“The human resources department of Indigo airlines has reacted in a manner which is highly arbitrary and has suspended the pilots initially.”

“In a mafioso manner, they have then proceeded to force the pilots to tender their resignation. The pilots had no option but to comply thereby furthering the feeling that there is no fair representation for the pilots.”

Following these reports, the Indian aviation regulator DGCA has issued a fresh probe into abusing emergency frequency with foul language and jeopardizing aviation law, as the emergency frequency is meant for a dire purpose.

DGCA has also suspended seven pilots from Indigo airlines following a detailed investigation.

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