Millennium Post

DGCA dismisses Reliance pilot

Cracking down on private air charters, DGCA on Friday refused to allow a private aircraft to take off from Delhi for violating safety norms and dismissed the pilot of Reliance Industries who was not carrying his license while on duty. In Mumbai, officials of the aviation regulator also held up two such flights – one of L&T and the other of Poonawalla Aviation company – on the same grounds on Friday, agency reports said quoting DGCA sources.

In Delhi, a Hawker 800 XP of SRC Aviation, which was to fly to Colombo on a chartered flight, was not allowed to take off for several hours as DGCA officials, conducting the checks, found several safety violations, like absence of life jackets or minimum equipment list, the sources said. Similar violations were also found in the Falcon 900 plane of Poonawallah, which landed at Mumbai from Agra, they said, adding that L&T’s aircraft also violated safety norms.

The action comes at a time when private planes and helicopters are being heavily used as charters to fly political leaders across the country on poll campaign. Almost a week ago, DGCA officials conducted surprise checks and grounded a Reliance Industries-owned 14-seater Falcon 900EX and suspended its pilot for violating safety norms.

While the aircraft was released after the deficiencies were removed, the sources said the Reliance pilot has now been dismissed.

The regulator, which had also issued show-cause notices to SpiceJet on safety violations for performing dance on board a flight to celebrate Holi, has also received a letter from the no-frill carrier not to repeat such activities without DGCA’s permission, the sources said.

A 13-seater Global Express BD 700 aircraft (VT-JSB), owned by the Jindals, was also held up for not carrying operations manuals or the lists of safety and emergency equipment on board. DGCA had a month ago also grounded a United Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft in Mumbai after engineers found its right engine cover badly damaged.

Following the downgrade of Indian aviation safety system by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 31 January, the DGCA has been conducting such surprise checks on a regular basis, apart from taking other action so that it can restore its top-most safety rating as soon as possible. The sources said the DGCA has completed induction of a large number of Flight Inspectors, a major condition highlighted by the FAA.
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