DGCA to hire 100-150 people over next 6-8 months for enhanced aviation safety surveillance

Chief Executive Arun Kumar from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), says will hire 100-150 people over the next 6-8 months to bolster air safety oversight through night checks as India’s airline fleet expands.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has rolled out a surveillance mechanism to identify non–compliance with flight safety standards and alert the authorities concerned for taking urgent corrective action to resolve the deficiencies.

The air safety issue has come into focus over the past month after several incidents of technical glitches were reported at airlines including SpiceJet, GoFIRST, IndiGo, Air India, Vistara and Air India Express related to glitches.

The regulator regularly monitors Indian airlines through an annual monitoring plan.

Engine damage, windshield cracks, smoke in the cabin, and equipment malfunction among others. As part of the annual surveillance plan for 2022, the DGCA will carry out 3,700 checks.

Based on the violations found during surveillance, spot checks, and night surveillance carried out during 2021-22, enforcement action has been taken by DGCA against responsible personnel of an airline in 21 instances of violations.

The primary focus of the initiative is to find any significant non–compliance with the applicable requirement which lowers the safety standard and affects seriously the flight safety.

A total of 177 surveillances, 497 spot checks and 169-night surveillances were carried out by the DGCA.

Such deficiencies would be conveyed in a standardised “Deficiency Reporting Form” that would explain the issue and specify the reference of the regulatory provision against which the observation was made.

“Aircraft is a complex sturdy machine with lakhs of components and its usage is very rigorous. India has a very young fleet and their flight dispatch reliability is one of the best in the world. Once in a while, technical snags are possible and a standard operating procedure as per globally approved norms is followed in case of any technical snag.

Passengers affected via flight diversions or delays won’t be happy but safe navigation is our priority. As per last year’s data, one aircraft sees 0.6 snags in a year. There may be 1-2 technical incidents in a day across 6,000 flight movements. A pilot has to be alert and attentive when it comes to any sign of technical snags. Many times, an indicator for a technical snag may be false but a pilot has to respond to that as well as per SOP. At DGCA, we want to say that business and safety are non-negotiable.”

Arun Kumar, DGCA

The direction comes as the DGCA has made a detailed surveillance programme focusing on passengers’ safety. Organisations such as scheduled airlines, non-scheduled operators, aircraft maintenance firms, design and manufacturing organisations, flying training institutes, and maintenance training institutes have been included in the programme.

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