Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a safety audit of all domestic airlines, including struggling carrier Jet Airways Ltd, amidst reports that the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, is urgently training investigators for crash probes.
CNBC-TV18 today reported that the DGCA has been asked to conduct the audit, following financial constraints face by almost all airlines in the country, including Jet Airways.
Jet Airways, which delayed payments to employees, vendors, after reporting its third consecutive quarterly loss, is cutting costs and seeking funds to stay afloat.
Reports, however, say DGCA is rushing to train crash investigators ahead of a UN audit only to satisfy the UN that their concerns have been addressed.
Non-compliance with global aviation safety measures can downgrade India’s ranking in aviation safety, which might impact the launching of new international flights.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has started an audit of India’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) from 13 November, amidst serious concerns about the bureau’s strength and competence.
Since the bureau was constituted in 2012 with the mandate to investigate aviation accidents in the country, none of the eight investigators in the AAIB – out of a sanctioned strength of 19 – have received intensive training for their jobs.
The bureau, which is looking into the incident of an Air India flight grazing the airport’s perimeter wall during take-off from Trichy and the crash of a Pawan Hans helicopter off the Mumbai coast, however, is now getting its staff trained for safety inspections.
Reports quoting civil aviation ministry sources said DGCA sent two of the investigators on the bureau’s payroll for training abroad just ahead of ICAO’s audit. They also hired three new ones to bring the total strength to a “respectable number,” sparking speculation on the true intent of the move, the report pointed out.