Civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s efforts to ensure that Indian carriers maintain high standards has suffered a setback with the recent resignation of three flight operations inspectors (FOIs).
FOIs are responsible for carrying out crucial safety inspections, checks and surveillance of airlines. DGCA recruits pilots working with domestic airlines on three-year contracts for this job.
Those who have resigned include a deputy chief FOI and a senior FOI.
“Besides the three who have resigned, two more have left in the past few months. Another FOI who had resigned was transferred to Bangalore to ensure that he stayed on,” said an official.
The regulator had planned to hire 75 FOIs after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded India in 2014, but could only manage to induct 50-odd FOIs on its rolls as most pilots preferred flying jobs to desk work.
While those have quit have cited personal reasons, sources say it is likely that they could be missing their flying jobs. “Working as a pilot and working in a government organisation like DGCA are two very different things. You no longer enjoy the perks and privileges that you get while working as a pilot. The working conditions are also very different. A lot of people find it difficult to adjust,” an aviation expert told HT.
The shortage of FOIs, officials said, severely hampered the regulator’s ability to carry out checks and safety inspections. “Efforts should be made to ensure that we are adequately staffed, otherwise all the good work done towards achieving the upgrade would go waste,” said an official.
FAA had downgraded India’s aviation safety rating citing a lack of aviation safety oversight in January 2014 but upgraded it to Category I in April last year.