A business jet owned by Reliance Commercial Dealers Ltd. (RCDL) was grounded by the aviation regulator after an inspection of the aircraft at the Delhi airport on Saturday revealed serious safety lapses.
The commander of the aircraft, who was not even carrying his license, has been suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). RCDL, part of Reliance Industries, has around nine private aircraft.
A 13-seater Global Express BD 700 aircraft (VT-JSB) belonging to Jindal Steel and Power Limited was also inspected and a number of violations were found. A decision on whether to ground the plane would be taken by the regulator on Monday.
A team headed by DGCA joint director general Lalit Gupta inspected the two planes. It found that most of the safety equipment on board RCDL’s 14-seater Falcon 900EX, with call-sign VT-ISH, like fire extinguishers, was past its expiry date.
“The personal breathing equipment in the plane that needs to be put on in case of a fire emergency had expired. There was a discrepancy in the passenger manifest and load and print sheet. According to the passenger manifest there were 11 passengers on board while as per the load and print sheet the number was 13.
The commander wasn’t carrying any document or medical papers with him,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.
Sources said the DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar, who has formed special teams to carry out safety checks, has ordered the plane to remain grounded till all safety-related issues are sorted out.
“All the required documents and equipment have been supplied to DGCA and we are cooperating with the authorities to ensure everything is in order,” an RCDL spokesperson said.