Less than two weeks after being dragged to court for allegedly turning a blind eye to safety violations by Air India, the aviation safety operator sent its teams to the airline's office on Thursday evening.
According to sources the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the airline to submit records for the past two years to probe allegations of illegal extension of work hours, denial of rest on board long-haul flights and stray cases of flight fatigue by the crew.
On April 8, the All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA), an Air Indian cabin crew union that represent flight attendants working on long-distance international flights, filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court blaming the DGCA for turning a deaf ear towards several such violations. The petition is likely to come up for hearing next week.
While many pilots and cabin crew associations had filed such litigations against their respective employers, this was probably the first time six top DGCA officials including its chief Arun Mishra were facing charges of putting flight safety at risk.
Although Friday was a public holiday on account of Ram Navami, two senior officials at the DGCA headquarters in Delhi met a small delegation from the union to sort out their grievances. "The DGCA has assured the union that all the pending cases of violations will be probed and action will be taken," said an airline staffer.
Mishra confirmed that a probe had been ordered. "We have learnt about some alleged violations on crew count and illegal extension of duty shifts," he said.