Non-scheduled airlines protest delays by DGCA, Financial Chronicle, 13/3/2015

Frustrated over the delay in flying clearance by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) flight inspectors, non-scheduled airlines have decided to take up the matter with the nodal civil aviation ministry and the prime minister's office (PMO).

Speaking to Financial Chronicle, a senior executive of a non-scheduled carrier blamed arbitrariness of flight inspectors resulting in idling of assets and loss of revenue.

By Nirbhay Kumar Mar 12 2015 , New Delhi

“Because of high handedness of flight inspectors, many aircraft are grounded. The grounded aircraft include Zest Aviation's Phenom 100, King Air C-90 belonging to Mesco Airline and Gulfstream 150. Similar is the condition of Air Pegasus’ ATR-72,” the executive said.

The DGCA flight inspector has also refused to give clearance to Piaggio Avanti aircraft citing certain aviation rules asking the operator to bear training their training cost.

The industry body, Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), confirmed the development. "A lot of procedural delays are happening because of flight operation inspectors (FOIs) and their differing approach while giving clearances following certification procedures," the trade body said in response to a query from FC.

Multiple sources said that the delay was happening for the last 15-16 months. DGCA's chief flight operations inspector (CFOI) Capt Ajay Singh didn't response to an emailed query from this newspaper. An email query on March 9 in this regard to DGCA head M Sathiyavathy also failed to elicit any response.

As per the DGCA website, there are 121 non-scheduled air-carriers in the country operating smaller jets of varying seat capacity.

Captain Mohan Ranganathan, a Chennai-based aviation expert and former member of Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council said that DGCA did not have sufficient number of flight inspectors to carry out flight inspection audit.

“The fact that American aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded India's aviation safety ranking and found several shortcomings, including shortage of flight inspectors, points to the issues related to procedural delay,” Ranganathan said.

Following its audit of aviation safety oversight last December, the FAA is yet to upgrade India's safety ranking from ‘Category-II’.

Several DGCA officials have in the past been accused of corruption. “There are certain procedures which have to be followed. It does take some time but ensures safety of the passengers.” a DGCA official said.

Friday, 13 March, 2015
Financial Chronicle