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Monday, January 5, 2015

Permit for plying ~ Air Asia QZ8501 did not have one !!!

In Marine parlance, ‘ocean liner’  is a ship designed to transport people from one seaport to another along regular long-distance maritime routes according to a schedule.  Cargo vessels running to an advertised schedule are also called liners.  The variant is tramps.

On ground earth, in India, we have the Motor Vehicles Act which mandates that every vehicle on road, must possess valid Insurance.  The Act specifies that ‘No person shall use, except as a passenger, or cause or allow any other person to use, a motor vehicle in a public, unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle …….a policy of insurance complying with the requirements of this Chapter.  Then there is Sec 149 (2) of the Act, which prescribes the defence of Insurers.  

It reads :  No sum shall be payable by an insurer under sub-section (1) in respect of any judgment or award unless, before the commencement of the proceedings in which the judgment or award is given the insurer had notice through the Court …………….
(a) that there has been a breach of a specified condition of the policy, being one of the following conditions, namely:—
(i) a condition excluding the use of the vehicle—
(a) for hire or reward, where the vehicle is on the date of the contract of insurance a vehicle not covered by a permit to ply for hire or reward, or
(b) for organised racing and speed testing, or
(c) for a purpose not allowed by the permit under which the vehicle is used, where the vehicle is a transport vehicle, or
(d) without side-car being attached where the vehicle is a motor cycle; or............

It is mandatory for owner of a transport vehicle to obtain permit and use permit in accordance with the conditions of the permit granted or countersigned by the Regional or State Transport Authority. There are different categories of permits which include : Permits for goods vehicles; jurisdiction of such permits (i.e., State and all over India called National permits) ; Permits for Passenger Vehicles that is further categorised as – auto rickshaw and taxi permits; permit for maxicabs;  Contract Carriage Buses Permits (Chartered Buses); Stage Carriage Permits  and temporary permits. 

The permits could prescribe the area of operation, the numbers that can be carried, the type (of goods) that can be carried and the like.  A couple of decades ago,  in preferring a claim, the owner of bus declared in the claim form that his bus was ‘Maharashtra to Pondy’ – met with an accident in Karnataka.  The Insurers called for ‘National Permit” or Permit for the entire route from origin to destination as a pre-requisite for consideration of the claim.  The Insured had no permit for Pondicherry, which was explained that upon nearing the border, one would apply for a temporary permit to enter the State, which did not cut ice with the authorities. 

It is stated that in Chennai, many of the autorickshaws that ply do not have proper permit to operate in the city – yet they are all there.  For other vehicles too, there could be many violations in permit including expired permit.  Corruption in RTO is a pet subject of movies – remember Kamal starrer, Shankar directed ‘Indian’. 

Mail Online reports that AirAsia didn’t have permission to fly from Surabaya to Singapore on the Sunday morning for flight QZ8501 that crashed into the Java Sea.  Indonesia's transport ministry said the plane had been flying on an 'unauthorised schedule' when it crashed, and the airliner has now been suspended from flying the route from the city of Surabaya to Singapore.

Indonesian authorities also said that recovery teams have found two big parts of AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed into the sea last weekend with 162 people on board. The Wall Street Journal reported that transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata said the airline was only permitted to fly the route on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from late 2014 to early 2015 ~ and when the flight crashed on Sunday (28.12.2014), it was reportedly flying on an unauthorised schedule.

Till now 3o bodies have been recovered from the ill-fated plane which had  162 passengers and crew on board  when it fell from the skies on Sunday.  So AirAsia committed a violation of the route ?  Tommy Soetomo, the head of state-owned airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I, said AirAsia had been allocated a slot to fly on Sundays. But Mr. Barata said that information was outdated and that AirAsia should have returned the slot to the government.

While the black box has eluded search boats so far, this afternoon crews announced they have found the tail of the plane sitting 100ft below the ocean's surface using sonar devices.  It is still not known what caused the Airbus A320-200 to plunge into the ocean last Sunday and the plane's black box recorder, which will contain vital information, has yet to be located.  Given Flight QZ8501 crashed in shallow seas, experts say finding the boxes should not be difficult if its locator beacons, with a range of 2,000 to 3,000 metres and a battery life of about 30 days, are working.  It is stated that minutes  before disappearing from radar, the pilot told air traffic control he was approaching a storm, but was denied permission to climb above it because of heavy air traffic.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Jan 2014.

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