The admission on affidavit is contrary to the airline's earlier oral denial of the allegation that its suspended pilots undertook flight training and duties during the suspension period.
Jet Airways today admitted before the Delhi High Court that two of its pilots, suspended by the aviation regulator DGCA for allowing unauthorised entry into the cockpit during a flight, had taken simulator training and one of them also undertook flying duty on one occasion.
The admission on affidavit is contrary to the airline’s earlier oral denial of the allegation that its suspended pilots undertook flight training and duties during the suspension period.
The airline, in its affidavit filed before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, has said that the two pilots were allowed to take simulator training due to misinterpretation of an internal e-mail by the carrier’s Training and Planning Department. One of the two pilots undertook flying duty also due to the misinterpretation of the e-mail.
While taking on record the affidavit by Jet Airways, the court allowed the petitioner’s oral plea to make the two pilots and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) a party in the matter. The bench also directed the DGCA to indicate its stand on the issue and listed the matter for further hearing on August 29.
Jet’s reply came in response to an application by a journalist, Rajneesh Kapur, alleging that the airline had cleared the two suspended pilots for flight duties in contravention of the order of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The application was moved in Kapur’s main petition, filed through advocate Nikhil Borwankar, alleging that Jet Airways was flouting national and international flight safety regulations by allowing unauthorised persons to travel overseas by “masquerading” as crew on a “general declaration”.
The court, while making the MHA a party in the matter, sought its stand on the issue raised in the main petition regarding alleged misuse of “general declarations”.
The petitioner has claimed that the general declaration, which is a declaration of the passengers, air crew and cargo, being ferried on an international flight by the flight operator, allowed people “to avoid obtaining a visa and pass undetected into foreign territory”.
In support of his allegation, the petitioner has cited a January 2018 incident in which a Jet Airways cabin crew member was arrested by the Department of Revenue Intelligence for possessing contraband foreign currency worth over Rs three crore.