DGCA to tighten checks on aviation training schools

The Air India crash at Mangalore on 22 May that killed over 150 people has woken up the civil aviation ministry. Realising that the scores of pilots, cabin crew and aircraft engineers being churned out by training institutes mushrooming across India may affect air safety if not trained properly, the aviation ministry on Wednesday asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to conduct an audit of all such firms.

A special team of DGCA officials and other aviation experts is now being formed for this purpose and the training institutes will be assessed and approved to ensure the people coming from there are well-versed with all safety requirements.

Aviation minister Praful Patel asked DGCA to immediately start this process at the second meeting of the civil aviation safety advisory council (CASAC), a body formed as a result of the Mangalore Air India Express crash, which had its first meeting last month.

The regulatory body, which investigates all incidents but whose outcomes are seldom publicised, was asked to take punitive actions after fixing responsibilities in all cases of non-adherence to safety measures.

An aviation source told a newspaper, ''Regular inspection of institutes is conducted by the DGCA. But there is no surprise element in those inspections and there are also no audits. If the DGCA implements the rules strictly, many of institutes will have to shut shop.''

According to an aviation ministry statement, DGCA chief Nasim Zaidi also said that the agency will soon decide flight duty and rest period for airline crew. ''Regulations are also being framed for effective fatigue management system.