Air India has been barred from flying dangerous goods in and out of Delhi for a fortnight from April 7 after lapses were found during a recent audit by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) at the airline’s IGI Airport cargo facility.
“A routine DGCA audit was carried out for various departments at Delhi. The regulator has some observations regarding our domestic cargo unit in Delhi. The same is being complied with,” said an Air India spokesperson.
Sources said the DGCA inspection had found that “the handling of dangerous goods was not in order and as per International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN’s aviation agency, requirements mandated in its technical instructions”.
Among the lapses were the non-availability of storage space with proper facilities to segregate dangerous goods and radioactive materials, untrained staff for accepting cargo other than dangerous goods, and the non-availability of the emergency management system and ground emergency drills at cargo facilities, they added.
“Dangerous goods can be carried safely by air transport providing certain principles are adopted. These principles have been used in developing technical instructions. They are intended to facilitate transport while providing a level of safety such that dangerous goods can be carried without placing an aircraft or its occupants at risk, providing all the requirements are fulfilled. They try to ensure that should an incident occur it cannot lead to an accident.
Dangerous goods are carried regularly and routinely by air all over the world. To ensure they do not put an aircraft and its occupants at risk there are international Standards which each State, under the provisions of the Chicago Convention, are required to introduce into national legislation. This system ensures governmental control over the carriage of dangerous goods by air and gives world-wide harmonisation of safety standards.”International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
Air India now has 15 days, from April 7 to April 23, to correct the mistakes found in the audit and apply for its suspension to be lifted. The airline will likely fix its issues, given how such a ban could impact the lucrative cargo shipments on its flights.
In October 2021, DGCA had suspended a private budget airline’s licence to carry dangerous goods across its network for 30 days after finding a violation of norms in the handling of such cargo.