New Delhi, Sept. 5: A government safety audit of airlines, due to be made public in the next few days, may pull up Kingfisher Airlines and Air India Express.
According to civil aviation ministry sources, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would ask the two airlines to take immediate steps to correct safety lapses or face action.
DGCA’s audit comes at a time the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is planning one of it own in India.
The ICAO had earlier pulled up India for safety lapses, and a downgrade is looming if the UN body’s audit revealed serious lapses.
Civil aviation ministry officials said this had prompted the DGCA to crack down and tie up “loose ends”.
About three years back, the US Federal Aviation Authority had threatened to downgrade India from category 1 to category 2 state after repeated wrong landings and other incidents as also audits showing deficiencies in the DGCA.
An US downgrade would have put India below Pakistan and China and on par with Guyana, Serbia and Ukraine.
“The (DGCA) report is looking into the safety aspect of the two airlines. Kingfisher has a serious shortage of pilots and Air India Express too has had some safety issues. Action will be taken against these airlines but the severity would only be known once the report is out. The report is likely to come either by weekend or next week,” said a senior official of the DGCA.
DGCA officials said they were extremely worried about Kingfisher Airlines. The beleaguered airline is loosing pilots and cabin crew and is also possibly facing a shortage of spare parts and engineers. Kingfisher has an accumulated loss of over Rs 8,000 crore and not been servicing bank loans of nearly Rs 7,000 crore since January.
Kingfisher had 64 aircraft at its disposal but now has only six A-320s and five ATR72s.
A DGCA report in December had said AI Express faced an acute shortage of pilots and trainers.
The same report highlighted lack spare parts in Kingfisher Airlines.
A safety audit is one of the most important tools to prevent accidents. An audit is a close scrutiny of all the disciplines to identify the deficiencies and the potential weaknesses of airlines.
“In a safety audit a detailed checklist is developed for carrying out checks of all the disciplines such as operations, maintenance, commercial, security and ground support. The corrective actions on the findings of the audit team should be taken up immediately and the records of the audit reports are to be maintained,” the DGCA official said.