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Airline Turbulence

  • 11 Jul 2022
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

Recently, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet over degradation of safety margins of its aircraft.

Why do such Incidents take Place?

  • Financial Reasons:
    • Spicejet reported a consolidated net loss of Rs.1,259.21 crore for the nine month period ended 31st December 2021 and is yet to declare its results for the full financial year 2022.
      • This leads to situations where an airline company is not able to pay the vendors and falls short of spare parts, as most of the vendors carry out business on “cash and carry" basis.
  • Ignorance to Defaults:
    • Many captains blame the organizational culture where pilots are forced to fly despite defects being unresolved and rules given a goby.
      • For instance, a DGCA surprise check at a training centre in March 2022 revealed that SpiceJet was training its pilots on a simulator despite a faulty stick shaker which warns a pilot if there is an imminent fall.
      • The training was part of the return to service of the infamous Boeing 737 MAX planes which were grounded across the world after two air crashes.
        • The DGCA barred 90 of SpiceJet's pilots from flying the MAXs until they were re-trained.

What Do We Know About DGCA?

  • It is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • It is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation primarily dealing with safety issues.
  • It is responsible for regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety and airworthiness standards.
  • It also co-ordinates all regulatory functions with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

What Can the DGCA Do?

  • The Aircraft Rules 1937 empower the DGCA to impose a fine of Rs. 1 crore, detain any aircraft if it can lead to danger to persons in the aircraft or to any other persons or property.
  • The regulator can also suspend the airline's air operator's certificate (AOC) which is a prerequisite for offering commercial air services in the country or curtail the airline's schedule, i.e., flights.

Source: TH

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