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Norms to tighten aviation safety

It took over two days to find a Ryanair chopper that crashed in the forests of Chhattisgarh killing two people in November last year.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2009 14:39 IST
Soubhik Mitra

It took over two days to find a Ryanair chopper that crashed in the forests of Chhattisgarh killing two people in November last year.

The chopper heading to Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh was trapped in bad weather. On Wednesday, the western region office of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) called a first of its kind meeting of non-scheduled operators (charter/private flight providers) to tighten safety measures to avoid such incidents.

Thousands of Mumbaiites working at off-shore project sites like the 30-odd oilrigs in the Arabian Sea are ferried to work by charter companies operating from the Juhu Aerodrome. And, bad weather especially during monsoons has been a threat to them.

Around 100 charter companies such as Reliance and Global Vectra attended the meeting where several issues like safety measure were discussed. Issues like mandatory reporting of mishaps, medical checks for the crew, if the flight duty timing limitations are being followed and maintenance of weather reports.

“Accidents involving non-scheduled operators are more compared to normal airlines operations. The sector needs better surveillance,” said a DGCA official requesting anonymity.

Aviation safety expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan said: “Most of them do not follow the required safety standards. And the short-staffed already struggling to maintain safety standard in airlines operations has little manpower for safety audits.”

Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US regulator for air travel, warned to downgrade India for consistent violation of safety standards.

The regulatory body has also mooted a proposal asking big charter operators to set up safety maintenance stations.