The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday, 18 July, directed that all aircraft at base and transit stations shall be released by certifying staff holding licenses, with appropriate authorization. This came after DGCA conducted spot checks, in the aftermath of increased reports of “engineering-related occurrences” in several airlines.
The DGCA demanded compliance by July 28. There have been multiple technical malfunction incidents in Indian carriers’ planes during the last one month.
The directive came a day after Union aviation minister J M Scindia met top ministry and DGCA officials following the spurt in incidents. On Monday Scindia held one on one with the top brass of airlines to issue a one-line directive—safety is of paramount importance and there should be no compromise with the same.
The inspections conducted by the DGCA have shown:-
• Improper identification of the cause of the defect
• Increased trend of MEL (minimum equipment list) releases
• Non-availability of required certifying staff at short intervals for multiple scheduled arrivals/departures
A MEL is a list of equipment certified by the DGCA. A certified AME is allowed to clear an aircraft if the listed equipment is not available before flying. The DGCA said it has decided that all the aircraft at base airports and transit will be released by certifying staff holding AME of only B1/ B2 license with appropriate authorization by their organization/ airline.
During the Sunday meeting, the minister had taken a detailed report from officials about the incidents over the last one month and told them that there should be no compromise over passengers’ safety.
On Sunday, IndiGo’s Sharjah-Hyderabad flight was diverted to Karachi as a precautionary measure after pilots observed a defect in one of the engines.
On Saturday night, the Calicut-Dubai flight of the Air India Express was diverted to Muscat after a burning smell was observed in the cabin mid-air.
A day earlier an alive bird was found in the cockpit of the Air India Express Bahrain-Kochi flight.
SpiceJet is under a regulatory scanner right now. On July 6, the DGCA issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet following at least eight incidents of technical malfunction in its aircraft since June 19.