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Air India: Demoted and delayed

(Please note, this matter is not currently being litigated in Australia)

The United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has recently downgraded India’s air safety rating to a ‘Category 2’ under their International Aviation Safety Assessment Program (IASA). The IASA focuses on a country’s ability to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) minimum safety oversight standards. The downgrade of India to the lower of two safety categories indicates that India either lacks laws or regulations necessary to ensure that air carriers are in compliance with safety standards or that India’s civil aviation safety regulatory body, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has deficiencies in such areas as technical expertise, resources, licences, adequately trained and qualified personnel and inspectors to ensure enforcement of, and compliance with minimum safety standards.  The demotion of India to a Category 2 country poses several restrictions on Indian air carriers including the inability to increase the number of flights they operate within the United States.

The decision by the FAA was prompted by India’s poor air safety record in which a growing number of transport incidents are occurring on Indian operated airlines every year. The most recent of which was the emergency landing of an Air India flight travelling from Melbourne to New Delhi on Wednesday the 5th February 2014.

The Air India flight, en route from Melbourne was forced to divert mid-flight and make an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur after suffering “software glitches”. Reportedly all three computers on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s software system went blank, forcing the commanders of the flight to take the aircraft off autopilot and land the plane manually. Air India spokesman, Praveen Bhatnagar, stated the incident was not of a serious nature and advised that “the pilots lost confidence in the software system” and chose to manually land the plane as an alternative option. While no injuries were sustained during the emergency landing, the Air India flight had over 200 passengers and crew on board, all of which were stranded in Malaysia overnight while Boeing engineers tried to fix the problem.

As an international flight, most passengers on board would be subject to the rules set out under the Montreal Convention 1999 and this may entitle passengers who suffered delay resulting in financial loss to bring a claim for compensation against the carrier.

Shine Lawyers is happy to provide a free case appraisal to any passengers on board the Air India flight who suffered as a result of the delay. For more information, please contact us or visit our aviation law page.


Written by Laura Kunde

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 16, 2014.

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