Even as the parliament continued to be disrupted the Minister of State for Civil Aviation – Sh. Jayant Sinha tabled answers to some starred and unstarred questions in Rajya Sabha. One such question was around increase in technical snags in aircraft which started with asking for the definition of a Technical snag.
The statement tabled in the house defined Technical snag or Defect before giving out the airline wise segregation of snags/defects reported in 2017.
“Technical Snag (Defect) means a condition existing in an aircraft (including its systems) or aircraft component arising from any cause other than damage, which would preclude it or another aircraft component from performing their intended functions or would reduce the expected service life of the aircraft or aircraft component “
Rajya Sabha was informed that technical snags in airlines have gone up from 15048 in 2014 to 21500 in 2016. This number went up to 24791 in 2017.
The same information also mentioned that DGCA has laid down regulations and procedures for monitoring snags/defects encountered during aircraft operations by
- Analyzing Engineering Statistical reports and advising the aircraft operators to take corrective actions on the adverse trend
- Carrying unplanned spot checks
- Conducting surveillance inspections
Source: Ministry of Civil Aviation
Of the total snags reported, Jet Airways reported 39% followed by 20% by Spicejet and 18% by Air India group. Go Air and IndiGo which are currently dealing with grounded aircraft reported 8% and 1% respectively.
One cannot ignore the increase in fleet size, increased utilization and aging of aircraft while considering these numbers. Major fleet replacement of Indian carriers is dependent upon the A320neo which is facing its induction challenges two years post induction and the B737MAX which is yet to enter service with airlines in India. The number of snags is just an indication and does not classify an airline as safe or unsafe.
These numbers are also based on numbers reported by the airline.The data is also silent on snags which were rectified and those could be carried forward as part of MEL (Minimum Equipment List) and for how long.