Death of Padma Scientist at Airport Spurs Son To Demand Medical Aid at All Airports…

In December last year, Prof Lalji Singh, known as the Father of DNA Fingerprinting in India, died after he suffered a major heart attack while at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur in Varanasi.

Death is inevitable. But nothing shocks us more than when a death, which could have been prevented or avoided, occurs due to sheer negligence. Human apathy makes death painful and stark, making us question everything – medical advances, the quality of healthcare, laws, regulations, and the value of life in our country.

In December last year, Prof Lalji Singh, known as the Father of DNA Fingerprinting in India, died after he suffered a major heart attack while at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur in Varanasi.

The airport was not equipped to handle this medical emergency, and by the time he was taken to the hospital – a good few hours later – he had breathed his last. The doctors who examined him say that had he been provided with oxygen supply during the “Golden Hour”, he could have been saved.

What makes it even harsher is that precious time was lost in getting formalities like an “Exit Pass” organised for him due to security reasons. What good are processes that are supposedly put in place to keep people safe when they end up killing them?

Up until I started my research for this piece I had assumed that all airports across the country would be equipped to handle emergency medical situations and would also have an ambulance on call.

My assumption was wrong.

If they did then perhaps Prof Lalji could have been saved.

Airports have become a place to shop and eat. They are all well equipped with restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, every brand that you can think of has a presence here, and liquor outlets thrive – and yet one of the most basic requirements of having a medical room with functional facilities is missing.

We, at the Better India, spoke to Late Prof Lalji’s son, Abhisekh Singh, who is asking some pertinent questions.

Abhishek is asking the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India to mandate the availability of a doctor, ambulance, minimum medical support, trained medical personnel and standard operating procedures at all civilian airports in India.

You can support his cause by signing the petition here.


On December 10, 2017, Prof Lalji was travelling from Varanasi to Hyderabad on an Indigo flight. Hailing from a village in Varanasi, Prof Lalji started Genome Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to diagnose and treat genetic disorders affecting the underprivileged, especially from rural India.

Having reached the airport well in time, Prof Lalji enquired about the wheelchair he had asked for while making his booking. He had nagging knee pain and hence wanted the wheelchair.

Unfortunately, the staff at the airport told him that there was no request and they couldn’t provide him with one. Since he was travelling alone, he went in to the airport and checked in.

Abhisekh says, “Since I was not present there at that time, I have requested the airport to provide me with the CCTV footage from that day. However, so far I have not received it. I can only, therefore, corroborate what I am saying with what people present there have said to me.”

After he checked in, a wheelchair was provided. Abhisekh also mentions that around this time he called his father to check on him.

A little after that Prof Lalji faced some difficulty in breathing and went to the counter to ask for help. He was taken to the medical inspection room where the compounder after checking him insisted on having him taken to a hospital for immediate medical intervention.

“While the airport had a medical intervention room there was no doctor or medical supplies there. Looking back they did not even have an oxygen cylinder in the airport,” says Abhisekh.

An ambulance was asked for but since did not arrive Prof Lalji had to be taken in a private car to the nearest hospital which was also quite a distance away. Given the strict security, once a passenger enters the airport, they are not allowed to leave until an exit pass is shown.

Despite being in great distress, Prof Lalji had to wait to have that pass made and only then was allowed to leave the airport.

The doctor who checked Prof Lalji mentioned how he could have been saved if he had been administered with oxygen during the ‘Golden Hour’. Prof Lalji was alive even after the heart attack, but the delay in getting him medical treatment cost him his life.

Here are some of the questions raised by Abhisekh:

1. While there is a medical intervention room, it is virtually of no use.

What is the point of having a designated room in the airport and calling it medical intervention room if there are no trained medical professionals there? In places like Varanasi where even the nearest hospital is quite a distance away, what happens in cases of medical emergencies?

Are these airports waiting for such incidents to occur to act?

2. Should airports not be equipped with basic medical infrastructure?

Unfortunately for us in India, heart disease is still the leading cause of death.

Knowing this should we not be working towards equipping the airports and railway stations, places that see thousands of people day in and day out, with basic medical infrastructure?

An oxygen cylinder, a defibrillator, an ambulance on call?

3. Is there a standard operating procedure in cases of medical emergencies?

Are our airports equipped to handle medical emergencies? Manuals like the Airports Authority of India, Terminal Management clearly states the need to have a well-equipped first aid box ready. This includes a small oxygen cylinder with delivery accessories and a facemask.

The manual also states that it is desirable that an updated list of Telephone numbers and addresses of the hospitals and nursing homes ( indicating the specialised Treatment rendered) in the vicinity of the Airport should always be available with the Terminal Manager.

If these are guidelines then why were none of them implemented on December 10, 2017? Are these guidelines just printed because they look good on paper? Does the DGCA ever audit the airports to ensure that all the norms are being followed?

So important questions for us all.

Abhishek is asking the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India to mandate the availability of a doctor, ambulance, minimum medical support, trained medical personnel and standard operating procedures at all civilian airports in India.

You can support his cause by signing the petition here.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

Source……. Vidya Raja  in http://www.the better india .com

Natarajan

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Phenomenal domestic growth fuels India’s aircraft demand…

India’s exponential rise in both passenger and freight traffic means the country will need 1,750 new aircraft over the next 20 years, according to estimates from Airbus.

With air traffic growth driven by a fast expanding economy, rising wealth and urbanisation, and government-backed regional connectivity programmes, India will require 1,320 new single-aisle aircraft and 430 widebody aircraft over the next two decades.

That’s according to European aircraft manufacturer Airbus in its latest India Market Forecast. It said the total value of the aircraft would be $255bn.

The report predicted that by 2036, Indians will each make four times as many flights as today. As a result, traffic serving the Indian market is forecast to grow 8.1 percent per year over the next 20 years, almost twice as fast as the world average of 4.4 percent.

Domestic Indian traffic is expected to grow five-and-half times over by 2036, reaching the same level as US domestic traffic today.

According to figures from OAG Schedules, domestic air capacity in India rose from 74.2 million available seats in 2008 to 143.2 million in 2017. In the last calendar year alone, domestic capacity increased by 13.8 percent after adding more than 17 million available seats.

The domestic growth comes as India’s government pushes its regional connectivity scheme (RCS), also known as UDAN, which aims to make air travel affordable and widespread.

The programme seeks to develop new and enhance the existing regional airports, as well as connecting more than 100 underserved and unserved airports in smaller towns.

Source…..David Casey in https://www.routesonline.com

Natarajan

This Pilot Loves Nothing Better Than Flying with Birds…!!!

Birds of a feather flock together, and these birds are no exception as they take to the skies with a microlight pilot that they believe to be their mother. Christian Moullec, as this breathtaking video shows, has an extraordinary relationship with birds and loves nothing more than to share his passion with others. Since 1995, Moullec has dedicated his life to raising orphaned geese and helping birds on the brink of extinction. See him in action here:

Source….www.ba-ba mail.com

Natarajan

World’s busiest air route is right here in India!…

In 2017 only the Jeju-Seoul Gimpo route (with over 64,991 flights) and Melbourne-Sydney (54,519 departures and arrivals) were busier than Mumbai-Delhi.

It is the third-busiest air route in the world, with as many as 47,500 departures and landings last year.

Yet despite reaching this position, the Mumbai-Delhi route could face serious challenges in sustaining or improving it this year.

The reason? Hardly any additional capacity is now available at Mumbai airport to deploy more flights on this route.

But with the demand growing by 10-12 per cent annually, and with no possibility of adding more flights, flyers will soon face a hike in air fares this year.

According to OAG, an air travel intelligence firm based in the UK, the Mumbai-Delhi air route was the third-busiest in the world last year, with an average of 130 flights between the two cities every day.

In 2016, India was number six in the pecking order of the busiest routes, and this calculation was based on the capacity deployed on the route one way.

In 2017 only the Jeju-Seoul Gimpo route (with over 64,991 flights) and Melbourne-Sydney (54,519 departures and arrivals) were busier than Mumbai-Delhi.

Airlines say the route makes up about 10 per cent of their capacity and revenues, making it by far the biggest market.

And, at an average passenger load factor on this route of 80-90 per cent, this is a lucrative route, on which the demand is growing.

It also reflects the skew that these two markets have in the aviation business in the country as it constitutes more than 35 per cent of the domestic traffic.

Over 10,000 passengers depart every day from Mumbai for Delhi and vice versa and 70 per cent of them are corporate travellers, and this makes the situation even worse as they travel only during the peak hours (6am-8am and 5pm to 7pm).

That is why IndiGo and Jet Airways, each of which has 17 departures from Mumbai, top the list, followed by Air India (11), Vistara (10), GoAir (7), and SpiceJet (4). Yet the writing is on the wall. While most airlines are pushing for more capacity on the route, none is available.

Says a senior executive of a leading airline: “If slots are available, we can achieve a growth rate of 10-12 per cent on this route every year.

“But as slots are not available, the only possibility is to deploy bigger planes. But everyone does not have that flexibility, especially the LCCs. What you will see is fare increases”.

Last year, for instance, only Vistara and IndiGo were given additional slots on the route.

According to estimates of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, the airport, which has a maximum capacity of 50-52 million per annum, is handling 46-50 departures an hour, which pretty close to the global best of around 55.

Currently the airport handles over 45 million passengers a year.

The agency says that the airport would reach its full capacity either by FY18 and surely by 2019, which makes the development of the new airport in Navi Mumbai so important.

Source…www.rediff.com

Natarajan

How the Maharajah Got Its Wings: The Story of Air India’s Iconic Mascot…

One of India’s most recognisable and loved mascots, Air India’s portly Maharajah with folded hands has held a special place in the hearts of its citizens for years.

“We can call him the Maharajah for want of a better description. But his blood isn’t blue. He may look like royalty, but he isn’t royal. He is capable of entertaining the Queen of England and splitting a beer with her butler. He is a man of many parts: lover boy, sumo wrestler, pavement artist, vendor of naughty post cards, Capuchin monk, Arab merchant…”

These are the words of Bobby Kooka, the man who conceived Air India’s Maharajah nearly 72 years ago. One of India’s most recognisable and loved mascots, this portly figure in regal garb has held a special place in the hearts of its citizens for years.

Here’s the fascinating story of Air India’s iconic Maharajah.

A part of Air India’s campaign to distinguish itself from its peers, the jovial and rotund Maharajah first made his appearance on an in-flight memo pad in the mid-1940s. He was conceived by SK (Bobby) Kooka, who was then a Commercial Director with Air India and sketched by Umesh Rao, an artist at J Walter Thompson in Bombay.

Back then, India was known as the “Land of the Maharajas” and Air India was its only international carrier, flying to destinations such as Cairo, Prague, Damascus, Zurich and Istanbul. So Kooka wanted to create an illustration for Air India’s letterhead that would symbolise graciousness and elegant living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SK Kooka with Captain V Vishwanath in May 1948 
It was somewhat along these lines that his creators, Kooka and Rao, gave him a distinctive personality, luxuriant moustache, aquiline nose and the quintessentially Indian turban. Eventually, the regal figure became Air-India’s mascot for its advertising and sales promotion activities.

For the next few years, the Maharajah was ingeniously used by India’s national airline to introduce new flight routes. His funny antics and quirky puns also allowed Air India to promote its services with subtle humour and unmatched panache.

For instance, one of the posters from Air India’s “retro collection” shows the Maharajah as a Russian Kalinka dancer to advertise its flight to Moscow. Another one shows him on a speedboat surfing in Australia with the boat replaced by two mermaids. Yet another one shows him being carried as a prey, hands and feet tied, by two lions in the jungles of Nairobi.

Here are some iconic posters that show the Maharajah in his quirky avatars, looking quite at home in famous locations around the world.

              Photo Source: Air India on Imgur.

   As such, the Maharajah came dressed in various garbs, but his trademark twirly moustache and his roly-poly stature remained — until 2017 when he lost of a bit of his flab and traded his traditional attire for blue jeans, trainers and a low-slung satchel to align himself with the modern times.

Unsurprisingly, the Maharajah has won numerous national and international awards for Air India for originality in advertising and publicity.

Interestingly, at one point in time, the mascot’s regal connotations triggered a controversy with politicians expressing doubts about using such a symbol to represent a nation with socialist aspirations. As a result, Air India did away with the Maharajah in 1989. But there was such a hue and cry from various quarters that the popular mascot had to be brought back.

In fact, during these years, Maharajah stickers and dolls were common in most middle-class Indian homes, even those where air travel was considered a luxury!

 

                                                                       So like all great men, the Maharajah has had his critics. But the millions of travellers who love him far outnumber them. For many of them, the inimitable mascot is a real person, almost like a friend who reaches out with warmth and hospitality, even to the farthest corners of the world.

As Rahul Da Cunha, the ad man behind the equally iconic Amul India campaign, once said,

“The Amul girl and the Air India Maharaja are the most brilliant characters ever created. The Maharaja encapsulates everything Air India should be: Indian luxury, hospitality, services and above all, royalty. It is royalty combined with humility. What can be a more iconic symbol for an Indian carrier?”

Source….SanchariPal

http://www.the better india.com

Natarajan