Aviation safety regulator DGCA on Saturday imposed a penalty of Rs 20 lakh on Tata Group-owned budget carrier AirAsia India for violation of certain norms relating to pilots' training.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also ordered the removal of the airline's head of training from his position for a period of three months besides imposing a fine of Rs 3 lakh each on eight Designated Examiners (DEs), as pe a statement.
PTI had on January 23 reported that AirAsia India allegedly violated aviation norms with respect to pilot proficiency checks and instrument rating tests and was likely to face enforcement action from the safety regulator.
This is the third enforcement action against a Tata Group airline in over a month.
AirAsia India, in a statement, said it is reviewing the DGCA order and considering an appeal against it.
"We acknowledge that a finding related to training exercises of pilots was observed by the DGCA following the main base inspection in November 2022. Immediate corrective action was taken in coordination with DGCA and additional simulator training sessions to address the gap were implemented," an AirAsia spokesperson said in the statement.
The enforcement action came following a surveillance inspection conducted by the DGCA on the airline during November 23-25 last year and subsequent show cause notice to the airline, its head of training, and all DEs.
During the inspection, DGCA team observed that a few mandatory exercises of the pilots of Air Asia (India) Ltd were not done during pilot proficiency check/instrument rating check (which is an International Civil Aviation Organization requirement) as per schedule, resulting in violation of DGCA regulations, DGCA said in a statement.
DGCA issued show cause notices to the accountable manager, head of training and all designated examiners of the airline "as to why enforcement action should not be taken against them for lack of oversight of their regulatory obligations".
"The written reply of accountable manager, head of training and all designated examiners were examined... Accordingly, a financial penalty of Rs 20,00,000 has been imposed on AirAsia (India) Ltd for violation of applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs)," it said.
The DGCA has also directed the airline to "withdraw" its head of training from his position for a period of three months for failing to discharge his duties as per applicable DGCA CARs, as per the statement.
"Financial penalty of Rs 3,00,000 (has been imposed) each on eight Designated Examiners of AirAsia (India) for failing to discharge their duties as per applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements," the DGCA said in the statement.
AirAsia spokesperson said the airline has already conducted mandatory exercises of the pilots as part of a simulator training done beyond the mandated regulatory training requirements.
"We wish to reiterate that there is no deviation from the safety margins required for our operations. Nonetheless, we are reviewing the DGCA order and are considering making an appeal as per available regulatory provisions," AirAsia India said.