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AirAsia India sacks whistleblower pilot Gaurav Taneja

Taneja was earlier suspended by the airline. He had alleged that the airline had violated safety regulations

June 29, 2020 / 09:23 PM IST

AirAsia India has fired Gaurav Taneja, its pilot who publicly alleged violations of safety regulations at the airline.

Also Read: Who is Gaurav Taneja, the whistleblower pilot suspended by AirAsia India?

The move comes to light a day after aviation regulator DGCA sent a show-cause notice to the airline's senior executive, Manish Uppal, AirAsia India's Head of Operations. But sources close to the development tell Moneycontrol that the pilot was fired on June 26.

Earlier, DGCA said it had taken cognisance of concerns raised against a 'particular airline' in connection to the controversy around AirAsia India pilot Gaurav Taneja, the aviation industry regulator sent a show-cause notice to the carrier's senior executive.

In a June 15 statement on Twitter, DGCA said it had "taken note of the concerns raised by some stakeholders against a particular Airline and its approach to safety”.


A popular vlogger with a sizeable following across social media platforms, Taneja had claimed that the airline has suspended him for "standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers".

Taneja alleged earlier that the airline was violating safety protocols, introduced to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which could endanger the lives of hundreds of AirAsia India passengers.

Explained | Why Gaurav Taneja's allegations against AirAsia India may set a precedent

"Some of the concerns raised by Taneja are relevant. Some may not be," a senior pilot had said.

AirAsia India spokesperson declined to comment.

Moneycontrol tried reaching Taneja, but his phone was switched off.

The termination notice

Sources said that AirAsia India based the termination notice on several 'violations'.

"The violations pertain to not appearing for an investigation started by the airline, going public on social media without following the due company process of redressal,  breach of non-disclosure agreement and photography in the cockpit in breach of company and DGCA norms," a senior executive from the industry said.

Another executive added that the airline had been investigating the pilot for over a year, and had later suspended him. After that, Taneja took to social media to air his grievances. "There were also allegations that he reported sick, but instead went for social commitments," the executive added.

What could have hurt Taneja's case most would be his public comments, which led to a debate, often toxic, on social media. "A few industry veterans on Twitter had advise Gaurav him to follow the company redressal process and not make this a public debate. But he didn't relent," said the senior executive cited above.

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Prince Mathews Thomas heads the corporate bureau of Moneycontrol. He has been covering the business world for 16 years, having worked in The Hindu Business Line, Forbes India, Dow Jones Newswires, The Economic Times, Business Standard and The Week. A Chevening scholar, Prince has also authored The Consolidators, a book on second generation entrepreneurs.
first published: Jun 29, 2020 01:33 pm
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