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Difficult Word/ PhraseContextual Sense
Laxity lack of strictness or care
Cut corner to do something quickly and not as well as you should
Diversion the act of changing the direction or purpose of something, especially in order to solve or avoid a problem
Severe extremely bad or unpleasant
Turbulence A state of violent disturbance and disorder
Crest The highest or extreme point of something
Tersely In a short and concise manner
Fleet Group of aircraft operating together under the same ownership
Invocation the act of asking for help
Aberration A state or condition markedly different from the norm
Feebly In a manner which lacks strength
Concur be in agreement
Root cause the basic cause of something
Snag An unforeseen obstacle
Red flag A sign used to indicate danger 
Ecosystem A system or an environment
Tier Arranged in layers
Nimble Moving quickly and lightly
Gross over try and make a problem seem unimportant by ignoring it or by dealing with it very quickly
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Safety in the sky: On DGCA’s no tolerance for laxity (lack of strictness or care) among airlines

The DGCA should have no tolerance for laxity among airlines seeking to cut corners (to do something quickly and not as well as you should) 

Bird hits, cracked windshields, component failures, engine compressor surges and blade failures, flight deck indicator and system-related warnings, flight diversions (the act of changing the direction or purpose of something, especially in order to solve or avoid a problem), mid-air engine shutdowns, pressurisation problems, and a case of severe (extremely bad or unpleasant) turbulence (A state of violent disturbance and disorder) in the monsoon — these aviation-related occurrences in Indian skies in recent months, reaching a crest (The highest or extreme point of something) over the last 30 days, with most of them affecting one airline, have raised concerns about air passenger safety. In its ‘show cause notice’ issued recently to SpiceJet, the carrier in focus, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has highlighted some of the reported events. In its tersely (In a short and concise manner) worded observations on the low-cost airline’s operations — a fleet (Group of aircraft operating together under the same ownership) of narrowbody jets and turboprops — the aviation regulator has pointed to a ‘degradation of safety margins’, and touched on ‘poor internal oversight’ and ‘inadequate maintenance actions’. Further, the DGCA has added, a financial assessment (September 2021) could point to a shortage of spares and, therefore, the ‘invocation’ (the act of asking for help) of flying with a minimum equipment list. In its initial response, the airline management has put forward a defence of being an IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) air carrier. And, second, given the scale of flight operations in India — according to Ministry of Civil Aviation data, there were 5,268 aircraft movements in the domestic sector, on July 10 — such incidents are not an aberration (A state or condition markedly different from the norm). It has even cited an average of 30 such episodes a day, which some official sources have backed, though feebly (In a manner which lacks strength).

The metric is problematic — even aviation experts concur (be in agreement) on this. There is no comparison with a global standard, or even a category breakup. Even worse, and dangerous, is not having the acknowledged root causes (the basic cause of something) addressed. In the DGCA’s Annual Safety Review 2020, edition V, for example, under ‘Deficient maintenance’ (the objective is to improve the maintenance of Indian registered aircraft), for a target of 2.16 for incidents involving component/system failure per 10,000 flight hours, the achieved performance is 2.39. Similarly, under the number of maintenance errors per 10,000 flight hours, for a target of 1.43, the performance is 1.46. Repeated snags (An unforeseen obstacle) are a red flag (A sign used to indicate danger), pointing to faults in the safety oversight system. In an ideal ecosystem (A system or an environment), issues with safety would be analysed in terms of the rate of occurrence using tiered (Arranged in layers) categorisation, with the goal of reduction to the minimum level. Troublesome too is how an airline continues its operations despite a ‘show-cause notice’ and during the monsoon. With passenger numbers climbing back to pre-COVID-19 levels, the entry of new airlines, the existing players indicating aggressive fleet expansion plans, and an international safety audit that is happening once too often for India, the regulator needs to be nimble (Moving quickly and lightly) and more vigilant. The industry watchword — safety — cannot be glossed over (try and make a problem seem unimportant by ignoring it or by dealing with it very quickly).

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