Air charter cos flying netas on DGCA radar

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 31 2014, 10:00am hrs
With the DGCA cracking the whip on air charter firms flouting safety norms, the companies busy flying politicians for poll campaigns now need to report to the regulator on operational issues once a week from Monday.

DGCA, which has deployed crack teams of its officers and engineers to carry out surprise checks, has kept the non-scheduled air operators on tenterhooks and warned of stringent action if they violate the laid-down aviation safety norms when they fly politicians across

the country.

The regulator had earlier grounded an aircraft of Reliance Industries and issued notices to several private companies, including the Jindal group, L&T, SRC Aviation and Poonawallah Aviation. It also ordered dismissal of a pilot of Reliance.

Official sources said the non-scheduled operators have been asked to report to DGCA every Monday on issues like whether any objections have been raised by the Election Commission about their flight or the passengers they flew or those relating to their operations.

The operational issues include those like Flight Duty Time Limitations of their crew members, whether they experienced any problems regarding their flight, the airport or the helipad and other operational issues.

All these operators have been asked to nominate an official for managing election flying, who would be accountable for ensuring compliance of all instructions issued by the DGCA, the Election Commission, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the Airports Authority of India, "before commencing election flying", the sources said.

The regulator has directed pilots and crew of aircraft or helicopters flying VIPs for poll campaigning to ensure that no unauthorised cash, narcotics or arms

are carried in flights they would operate.

A week has passed since the DGCA effected the Air Safety Circular on operation of small aircraft and helicopters and their adherence to safety guidelines detailing the do's and don'ts for the charter operators.

A special cell has also been set up within DGCA to monitor the flights of all these charter operators on a regular basis.

The regulator has also put the onus of aircraft safety on the owner and operator.