New Delhi: A total of 14 cases have been reported during the last six months, from January to June, where pilots failed the pre-flight breath-analyser (BA) examination. The information shared by Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia in the Lok Sabha today, July 28, also said that the licenses of involved pilots were suspended as per the provision of the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR).
In responses to questions put up in the Lok Sabha during this monsoon session, Scindia also informed that a total of 478 technical snags were reported in last one year from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. The snags, during operations, may occur due to malfunctioning of components or equipment fitted on the aircraft which require rectification action by the airlines for continued safe, efficient and reliable air transport service. These technical snags, are reported by the flight crew on receiving an aural or visual warning in the cockpit or an indication of an inoperative or faulty system or while experiencing difficulty in handling or operating the aircraft.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also has a laid down mechanism of conducting surveillance, spot checks, night surveillance etc, with the observations or findings are provided to the airline for taking corrective action. The action taken to correct the observations are reviewed and the findings are closed or in case of violations, DGCA takes enforcement action in accordance with laid down procedures which may consist of warning, suspension, cancellation including imposition of financial penalty to the personnel involved/ airline.
A total of 177 surveillance, 497 spot checks and 169-night surveillance were carried out by DGCA on engineering and maintenance aspects of scheduled operators during the last one year from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. In all the cases enforcement action has been taken by DGCA against responsible personnel or post holder of the airline operator in 21 instances of violations, which inter-alia includes suspension of license, withdrawal of post holder, issuance of warning letters, etc.
The most recent, and public example would be SpiceJet which on July 27 has been restricted to operate a maximum of 50 per cent of its flights, which were approved for the summer schedule, for a period of eight weeks. The DGCA order says that “in view of various spot checks, inspections and the reply to the show cause notice” the decision of restriction of services was taken. It also said that during this period the airline would be subjected to further surveillance.
Th DGCA cited “poor internal safety oversight and inadequate maintenance actions, which have resulted in degradation of the safety margins”.
The decision comes after SpiceJet flights were involved in at least eight incidents of technical malfunction in 18 days. The Department of Civil Aviation served the airline with a show cause notice on July 6 which said that the incidents from the last few weeks showed the aircraft either turned back to its originating station or continued landing to the destination with degraded safety margins.