DGCA acts to curb ferrying of invalid notes in private planes
Aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday warned of strict action against non-scheduled flight operators as well as pilots concerned in case there are lapses in screening of passengers and baggage, amid instances of private planes being used to ferry large amounts of demonetised notes.
Taking strong note of such incidents, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a fresh circular reiterating certain existing provisions that need to be followed by Non-Scheduled Operator (NSOP) permit holders.
Last week, the Civil Aviation Ministry had said it would take legal action including filing an FIR against the pilot who flew a private chartered jet to Dimpaur, Nagaland, with a passenger carrying Rs 3.5 crore worth scrapped notes.
“All NSOP holders and private aircraft operators are directed to strictly comply with the provisions of the AVESC order... failing which strict action as deemed appropriate shall be initiated against the pilot-in-command as well as the operator,” the circular said.The circular has been issued on the basis of an earlier AVSEC (Aviation Security) order.
Citing that order, DGCA said screening of passengers and their baggage in small aircraft/helicopters up to ten seats should be done by the pilot-in-command as per BCAS regulations while the verifications have to be carried out by the police authorities concerned.
BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) is the key agency responsible for aviation security in the country.
Besides, no-objection certificate has to be procured from District Superintendent of Police before granting any permission to “operate from/to any non-operational/ non-sterile area or non-sterile airports/airstrips”. “It has been reported that some of the NSOP permit holders have been engaged to carry demonetised currency from one part of the country to another, particularly from the uncontrolled airfields where there are no arrangements for screening of passenger baggage,” DGCA said.
A Bihar-based businessman, travelling alone in a chartered jet, was apprehended at the Dimapur airport for allegedly carrying Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised currency last week.
AAI to have global bidding for O&M partners of airports
Airports Authority of India (AAI) will come out with a global competitive bidding process for selecting partners to carry out operation and maintenance works at some airports, the government said on Tuesday.
“AAI has decided for selection of O&M (Operation & Maintenance) partners through a global competitive bidding after obtaining approval of the competent authority,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Rajya Sabha.
The transaction documents for O&M process are in place, he added.
He was responding to a question on whether the government is considering international bidding process for choosing entities to operate and maintain some of the domestic airports.
To a query, Sinha said the proposed partnership with Singapore’s Changi Airports International for O&M contracts for Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports “could not materialise as the fee demanded by them was not found financially viable to AAI”.
The national airports’ operator has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise for cooperation in various areas of the civil aviation sector.
One of the areas of cooperation under the MoU includes implementation of O&M at Indian airports.
“In terms of the MoU, the Singapore government nominated Changi Airports International as an O&M contract partner for the Ahmedabad and Jaipur airport projects,” the Minister said.
However, the partnership could not materialise due to financial viability issues.