Tata group-owned AIX Connect, earlier known as AirAsia India, has allegedly violated aviation norms concerning pilot proficiency checks and instrument rating tests and is likely to face enforcement action from regulator DGCA, according to sources.
The sources told PTI that the alleged violations were detected by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) after it inspected the airline’s main base recently. The sources said that the airline is alleged to have violated the norms about Pilot Proficiency Checks and Instrument Rating tests (PPC/IR) and could face a financial penalty of up to INR 1 crore.
“At the beginning when the airline (AirAsia India) started operations, there was a laid down set of proforma, which would be circulated to each pilot by the chief pilot (training standards). So there was no chance of missing any of these mandatory exercises,” one of the sources said.
When contacted, an AIX Connect spokesperson acknowledged receiving the findings from DGCA and said the airline had taken corrective steps.
“We acknowledge that we received a finding from DGCA as part of our main base inspection in December’22 and have taken immediate corrective action through additional simulator sessions for our pilots in coordination with DGCA. Our training standards remain uncompromised with no deviation in safety margins, and we remain dedicated to ensuring the highest level of safety and quality in all facets of our operations.”Spokesperson, AirAsia India
However, when the practice of circulating proforma was discontinued abruptly, people started missing out there PPC and IR tests. DGCA detected this. According to the source, such violations can attract a financial penalty of up to INR 1 crore. There is also a provision wherein the DGCA can ask the airline to remove its chief pilot (training standards).
As per the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) Series F Part VIII, an air operator has to ensure that “each pilot undergoes seat-specific PPC and IR to demonstrate competence in carrying out normal, abnormal and emergency procedures on each type or variant of a type of aeroplane”. A PPC can be carried out either on an aircraft or on a simulator twice a year.
However, according to the norms, for aircraft with less than five qualified simulators globally, the operator may seek DGCA approval to carry out PPC once in two years in the simulator while the intervening six-monthly PPC is carried out in the aircraft.
While the PPC should be undertaken after every six months, the IR checks should be taken after every 12 months, as per the CAR.
Earlier this month, DGCA imposed a financial penalty of INR 30 lakh on Air India for non-reporting of the incident on its New York-New Delhi flight last November in which a drunk male passenger had allegedly urinated on a female passenger mid-air.