In a move that might appear to be harsh and surprising, the aviation safety regulator has pulled up a pilot for turning up 10 minutes late for his flight.
While the show cause notice issued to senior Jet Airways pilot Captain MS Aluwalia does not state that his late coming delayed the flight, it implied he might have skipped the mandatory pre-flight safety check owing to the delay.
The incident came to light on February 27 during a surprise check by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) at the Delhi airport. According to the Jet Airways manual, pilots operating domestic flights are supposed to report on duty an hour before the scheduled take-off time and 90 minutes before international flights.
“The pilot was required to report at the dispatch (department) one hour before the scheduled departure in order to be on board the aircraft 35 minutes prior to take-off for carrying out safety checks effectively,” read the show cause notice issued by Lalit Gupta, joint director general with the DGCA. HT has a copy of the notice.
The notice has asked the pilot to explain the delay within 15 days or face ‘suitable action’. According to DGCA norms, the pre-flight safety check requires a pilot to mark a checklist of 50-odd items before every flight.
Gupta did not respond to HT’s query on whether the regulator had adopted a new stringent yardstick on crew punctuality. The Jet Airways spokesperson also did not respond to HT’s query till the time of going to press.
Industry insiders suspect that the DGCA’s curtailed tolerance on safety lapses could have something to do with the United Nations-appointed aviation watchdog’s safety audit later this year.
While the dates for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety audit are yet to be finalised, the global policy maker on air safety would review the country’s air safety administration. It had named India among 13 countries with the most dismal air safety monitoring records following its previous audit in 2012.