DGCA chief Arun Mishra said his office won’t be probing into the April 30 incident where, according to a government appointed safety panel, a chartered Jet Airways flight landed at a South African Air Force base without clearance, circled at low altitude above Pretoria city, triggering a scare among local air traffic controllers.
The Civil Aviation Air Safety Advisory Council (CASAC), on Wednesday, attached news reports about the flight’s ‘unusual’ journey and pressed for a probe by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
While both the pilots were senior Airbus commanders, the senior member of the cockpit, Captain PP Singh had earlier been benched for fudging training records, pointed out the panel.
“Low circling manoeuvres above populated areas is unsafe for passenger jets. The DGCA should probe it,” said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, member, CASAC.
The CASAC also asked the regulator to probe whether the airline submitted the accurate flight plan. “It seems that the flight plan submitted was to operate a flight between Mumbai and Johannesburg but the chartered jet landed at the Waterkloof air base instead,” added Ranganthan.
The safety panel had also quoted excerpts from the Jet Airways flight operations manual, which indicates that a pilot operating a flight is responsible for carrying necessary permissions.
DGCA chief Arun Mishra told HT that his office would not probe the case as the airline had acquired necessary clearances from the chartered flight. He however, refused to comment on the questions raised by CASAC.
A Jet Airways spokesperson also denied any violation by the flight in question. “Jet Airways (A 330) charter flight 9W 9901 was operated to South Africa with all necessary clearances from the Indian and South African Regulators and hence we were allowed to operate there,” said a Jet Airways the spokesperson.