The Telegraph
Sunday , March 23 , 2014
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DGCA grounds Reliance aircraft

New Delhi, March 22: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation grounded a business aircraft owned by Reliance Industries after a surprise check today and suspended its pilot for failing to produce his licence when asked.

The inspectors had found that most safety equipment on board, including a fire extinguisher and personal breathing equipment, had passed the expiry date, sources said. The cabin compartment containing the escape rope was found to be jammed. “These are the routine points we check when we inspect aircraft,” a senior DGCA official said.

According to DGCA officials, the 14-seater Falcon 900EX registered in the name of Reliance Commercial Dealers Limited was grounded just before it was due to take off from Delhi. The pilot was not carrying his licence, the official said. “The co-pilot too was not in possession of certain documents which are to be mandatorily carried,” the official added.

According to sources, the director-general of civil aviation, Prabhat Kumar, ordered that the aircraft remain grounded till the old equipment had been replaced.

The civil aviation regulator routinely conducts surprise checks on all commercial aircraft. “We have been conducting inspections all over the country,” the senior DGCA official said.

However, sources said the regulator has become more proactive after the US Federal Aviation Authority downgraded India’s aviation sector to Category-II from Category-I.

Another aircraft, owned by Jindal Steel and Power Limited, was also found to have several lapses but the regulator will decide on Monday what action is to be taken.