‘Safety Violations Soar in Indian Skies’ Govt Ignored Min View on Pawan Hans Stake Sale
Directorate General of Civil Aviation says violations had risen by more than half last year over 2015
New Delhi: Safety violations in the Indian skies have risen by more than half last year over 2015, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data revealed.
The data from India’s civil aviation regulator showed that it had taken 275 enforcement actions in 2015, which jumped to 422 in 2016. What’s more, the rise in violations are also being reported at a time when India has become the highest growing market in the world by registering an over 20% passenger as well as capacity growth over the past couple of years.
Data also shows that enforcement actions during 2014 was about 391, when the size of the market was smaller compared to today.
DGCA officials credit the increase in enforcement actions to heightened surveillance by the avia- tion regulator. “The increase is on account of heightened surveillance and risk-based audit being conducted by the DGCA,” said a senior official at the DGCA, who did not want to be identified.
The official further explained that risk-based audits have helped them crack down on discrepanci- es. “Under the risk-based audit, we inquire into the whole training process of an airline. This has helped us detect and improve a lot of flaws,” the official explained.
Industry insiders, however, are sceptical about the increased surveillance claim by DGCA. “Indian aviation has grown but the num- ber of flight operations inspectors in the DGCA has reduced. So, the DGCA’s claim that they have increased audits with lower staff in an industry that has grown in number cannot be believed,” said Mohan Ranganathan, a safety expert and a former pilot.
Within the industry, people tried to put these numbers in context. “These numbers shared by DGCA cannot be looked at independently, as the aviation regulator could be trying to influence public view due to reasons best known to them,” said Shakti Lumba, aviation analyst who was previously head of operations at IndiGo.
Among the airlines, Jet Airways topped the list with 116 violations during 2016, followed by 101 violations by SpiceJet. Air India came in third with 66 violations followed by IndiGo, which saw 55 of its crew members being punished. New Delhi: The Narenda Modi government decided to sell its entire share in Pawan Hans despite the aviation ministry’s view that the timing would not be right for a stake sale in the state-owned helicopter operator, three senior aviation ministry officials told ET.
This is a rare occasion when the central government has overlooked the view of the nodal ministry on divesting stake in a PSU, people familiar with the matter said. The government, through civil aviation ministry, owns 51% in the company, while the rest is owned by ONGC. Set up in1986, Pawan Hans is the largest helicopter operator in the country with a fleet of 42 choppers.