The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is investigating AirAsia India after one of its pilots Gaurav Taneja was suspended after pointing out alleged violations of safety norms by the low-cost airliner.
On June 14, Taneja, tweeted that he has been suspended by AirAsia India "for standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers".
The next day, he posted a detailed video on his popular YouTube channel, called Flying Beast, titled "Reasons behind suspension from my pilot job".
In the video, Taneja alleged the airline has asked its pilots to do 98 percent of landings in "Flap 3" mode, which allows it to save fuel. He said if a pilot does not do 98 percent of landings in "Flap 3" mode, the airline considers it a violation of its standard operating procedure (SOP).
Flaps are part of wings of an aircraft and they are engaged to create a drag during a landing or a take-off.
The video has garnered over 3 million views and over 60,000 comments, mostly appreciating the pilot for his move.
“This is why everyone loves you because in such a bad time also you are handling the situation cool and calmly like a gentleman u deserve respect sir,” read one of the comments.
So, who is Gaurav Taneja? He is not a person who grabbed attention with his suspension and the following video.
As a commercial airline pilot, a fitness expert, a popular YouTuber and a daily vlogger, Taneja has a large presence on social media.
His YouTube channel Flying Beast has over 2.92 million subscribers, and his Twitter and Instagram accounts have over 225,000 and 967,000 followers, respectively.
Journey to become a pilot
Born on July 12, 1986, to Yogendra Kumar Taneja and Bharti Taneja in Kanpur. He completed his engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) between 2004 and 2008. After completing his B.Tech, Taneja followed his passion and joined the aviation sector, as mentioned by him in his YouTube video.
In 2011, he started his airline career. In April 2019, Taneja switched from IndiGo to AirAsia India.
YouTuber and Gym enthusiast
Despite being a commercial pilot, Taneja is known for his YouTube channels. He has two channels on the video-sharing platforms: Flying Beast and Fit Muscle TV, having 2.92 million and 1.47 million subscribers, respectively.
While the first one is a travel vlogging channel where he shares his travel-related vlogs and other things related to his personal life, the second one is a fitness channel, where he provides tips and guidance for people who like bodybuilding and gym.
Now, the pilot is in headlines for alleging violations of safety norms against AirAsia India.
"DGCA has taken note of the concerns raised by some stakeholders against a particular airline and its approach to safety. DGCA has already started an investigation into the issues flagged and shall take appropriate action based on the outcome of the said investigation," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Twitter.
Senior DGCA officials confirmed AirAsia India was under investigation after Taneja's allegations.
According to AirAsia India spokesperson, "AirAsia India stands firmly on its value of 'Safety Always'. The safety of our guests is of paramount importance in every aspect of our operations. AirAsia India is cognizant of the matter in regard to a social media post put up by one of its employees."
"We are cooperating with the DGCA on this matter. As a policy, AirAsia India does not comment on matters pertaining to its business or employees," the spokesperson added.