Safety and security of the country's civil aviation space is 'paramount', says Scindia
The safety and security of the country's civil aviation space is "paramount" and all occurrences, including minor issues, are reported, according to Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Against the backdrop of various incidents involving SpiceJet and other carriers in recent times, the civil aviation minister also said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set a target of carrying out 3,709 checks this year as part of its annual surveillance plan.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the target was around 2,775 checks.
Responding to a query about safety during a recent interview with PTI, Scindia said that the civil aviation sector is the one where the occurrence reporting rate is 100 per cent.
"We make sure that every occurrence is reported, whether it is a very minor issue or any other thing. The safety and security for us as a civil aviation ministry is paramount. It is the primary responsibility of airlines. For both safety and security, we have the regulators in place that monitor compliance on those parameters. BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) for security and DGCA for safety," he said.
In the last few months, there have been instances of Indian carriers facing technical snags, especially in the case of SpiceJet. On July 27, DGCA directed SpiceJet to operate only 50 per cent of its flights for eight weeks and decided to keep the airline under enhanced surveillance in the wake of a spate of technical snags suffered by the carrier's planes.
DGCA has an annual surveillance plan and a detailed roster is put out in this regard every year.
Airlines, flight training organisations and drone school organisations, among other entities, are covered under the surveillance plan.
"DGCA has kept a stiff target of 3,709 checks in their annual surveillance plan... I am confident that they will reach the target of 3,709 checks this year. They are very clear in terms of ensuring a safe environment. Safety for us is paramount," Scindia said.
According to the aviation regulator, an improved version of the Annual Surveillance Programme (ASP) has been prepared based on experiences gained during 2009-2021 and comprises all directorates under DGCA.
"Further DGCA also analysed the field data/ discrepancies reported during past surveillance activities. DGCA also identified the weak areas of operators and the areas of concern. The result of the analysis has been incorporated for the development of new ASP 2022. The programme has been developed after taking into account the available resources in the organisation," as per the regulator.
In 2013-14, the number of air travellers in the country stood at around 6 crore, which increased to about 20 crore in 2019-20.
According to Scindia, it is projected that there will be 40 crore travellers in India, including domestic and international, by 2027.