DGCA grounds two aircraft for carrying liquor on board

Written by Express news service | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 30 2014, 21:59pm hrs
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded two aircraft one of Bajaj Auto Limiteds aviation arm and another of real estate firm Sobha Puravankara for carrying liquor on board and other safety violations.

The aircraft were grounded for violating Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) 12/1994 that bans serving liquor on board domestic flights and the Delhi Liquor Licence Rules of 1974. We are will write to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security asking it to probe how the bottles were carried into the aircraft, a DGCA official said.

While Sobhas aircraft, which came from Bangalore to Delhi, had a full-fledged bar, Bajaj Autos aircraft, Bombardier Global 5000 (VT-BAJ), had come from Pune.

Bajaj Auto has told the regulator that the bottle of liquor was from a Dubai-Chennai flight on August 2, 2013, which had 12 passengers on board. We are verifying the details as the flight had taken place in August last year. Over the last nine months, the operator is claiming that it has had the liquor bottle on board, a source said.

The officials also found serious technical lapses as both aircraft were not carrying the mandatory operations manuals as well as the Jeppesen manual or the comprehensive flight (route) guide.

Two women facilitators were found on board the Sobha aircraft. The Bajaj Auto aircraft had a woman attendant. They did not have the mandatory cabin crew training, the official said.

DGCA said Sobha Puravankara is yet to explain the lapses.

These groundings, on account of safety violations, are a result of over a month-long DGCA audit of operations by non-scheduled operators. Earlier this month, DGCA had grounded the aircraft and crew of GMR Aviation for three months for not clearing the pre-flight breathalyser tests.

The DGCA, under powers conferred by Section 5A of the Aircraft Act 1934, stipulates that no operator operating a domestic air transport service in India shall serve any alcoholic drink on board such as air transport service and that no passenger travelling on such a service shall consume any alcoholic drink while on board. All operators are required to include these instructions in their in-flight announcements and amend their operations manuals accordingly.