vistara aircraft
| © T. Narayan / Bloomberg

Full-service Indian airline Vistara has been fined by India’s aviation regulator for violating safety regulations on a recent flight. 

A first officer was tasked with landing a Vistara aircraft without receiving essential training in a simulator. 

A perilous act

Landing an aircraft is commonly seen to be the most difficult part of a flight. It requires skill and apt knowledge gained by adequate training in a simulator to get it right time and time again. 

Yet a First Officer hired by Vistara performed a recent landing of a Vistara aircraft without completing the required simulator training. 

It was also found that the captain was also inadequately trained to land an aircraft. While the first officer is expected to land the aircraft in the simulator before even attempting to do it in real life with passengers onboard, captains are trained to give accurate landing instructions to the First Officer. 

The incident, while not all details have been made public, took place at Indore’s Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport. The airport serves the west-central city of Indore and the adjacent regions in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. 

Vistara has a fleet of 51 aircraft, 34 of which are Airbus A320neo jets. We can assume that it is likely the aircraft involved in the landing was an A320 aircraft, especially as Vistara relies mostly on the Airbus A320 family for its domestic routes (alongside some Boeing 737s). 

In response to Vistara’s safety failings, India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has fined the Gurgaon-based carrier ₹10 lakhs (approximately $12,800) for violating safety regulations. 

Last month, a Virgin Atlantic flight was forced to abandon the scheduled route to New York and return to Heathrow after it was found that a First Officer on board had not completed all of their essential company training. 

According to the UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, the failure was not a breach of UK aviation and safety regulations and all passengers on the flight were not at risk as “both pilots were suitably licensed and qualified to undertake the flight.” 

The British carrier’s First Officer had simply not completed a “final assessment flight,” a measure set and required by the airline exclusively.  

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