Friday, March 28, 2014

Private operators set to face random Directorate General of Civil Aviation checks

Last week the DGCA carried out surprise checks on aircraft owned by Reliance Commercial Dealers Ltd and JSPL and found violations.

 The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated random safety checks of planes operated by all 45 non-scheduled operators across the country.

This move by the aviation regulator is to ensure that safety procedures are followed by the private operators during the election season.

“We have already conducted safety checks on four private charter operators and the audit of the rest 41 will be complete in the next one month,” said a senior DGCA official.

In its audit done on Friday, the aviation regulator delayed a private aircraft to take off from Delhi for violating safety norms.

Sources in DGCA informed a Hawker 800 XP of a Delhi-based aviation company, which was to fly from Delhi to Colombo, was not allowed to take off for several hours as DGCA checks found several safety violations. The violations, included absence of life jackets or minimum equipment list.

The aviation regulator found issues in a Falcon 900EX aircraft operated by a Mumbai-based general aviation company. The plane, which landed in Mumbai after flying people from Agra, had three bags in the cabin, when the plane does not provide space for any bag in the cabin, said DGCA officials.

Last Saturday, DGCA officials conducted surprise inspections and grounded a 14-seater Falcon 900EX belonging to Reliance Commercial Dealers Limited and suspended its pilot for violating safety norms.

While the aircraft was released after the deficiencies were removed, the regulator’s actions also led to dismissal of the pilot of the aircraft for not carrying his licence with him.

A Global Express BD 700 aircraft (VT-JSB) belonging to Jindal Steel and Power was also held up for not carrying operations manuals or the lists of safety and emergency equipment on board.

The DGCA has stepped up safety and surveillance checks of aircraft close on the heels of India’s safety rating coming under scrutiny and being downgraded by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).