New Delhi, Aug. 18: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today said it would conduct surprise checks on scheduled as well as chartered carriers throughout the year.
The development comes at a time the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is about to start its global safety audit.
In the last few days, the DGCA had taken action against several airlines and private charters and grounded 14 aircraft for violating safety norms. The regulator took stringent and novel actions, including directing low-cost carrier SpiceJet to refund fares to all passengers of a Mumbai-Delhi flight that was delayed by about five hours on July 28. An engineering glitch had forced the pilots to abort takeoff and return to the bay.
Sources said civil aviation minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju had asked the DGCA to prepare a monthly programme of surveillance of airports, scheduled, non-scheduled and general aviation companies, foreign airlines and the aviation wings of state governments.
According to ministry officials, a broad timetable of the checks will be prepared but the details, such as the name of the airline, will be kept under wraps till the last moment.
“Checks would be performed on two scheduled and two non-scheduled airlines and on an airport on a monthly basis. The basic intent of the spot checks and surveillance would be to assess the capability of an operator to carry out aviation operations with an acceptable level of safety,” a senior ministry official said.
According to official figures, till June, 14 aircraft were grounded by the DGCA, which conducted 55 surprise checks as part of its oversight activity to ensure strict compliance of safety regulations.
The checks and audits will cover issues such as safety preparedness at airports and the presence of crucial documents, such as minimum equipment lists or firefighting equipment, on board a flight. They will also examine whether pilots are carrying their licences or how the engineering activities and the mandatory breathalyser tests are being conducted.
For every deficiency, the operator or the company will have to take rectification measures within a stipulated time and inform the regulator.