Thursday, October 19, 2017

Pvt ailine accuses DGCA of corruption, tardiness

Mumabi: A war of words has broken out between a private airline and the aviation regulator DGCA with the airline calling out the apex aviation body for its “ineffi-ciency and ineptitude” and the aviation regulator blaming the airline for tardiness in following procedure.
Mumbai-based Supreme Airlines has complained to the Prime Minister’s Office alleging that though its new Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft arrived from the US on May 22, it was kept grounded till October 3 by DGCA officials for want of a Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA).

The airline’s CEO Ammeet Agarwal has blamed the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials for the delay in certification, and the DGCA’s Deputy Director of Airworthiness Raj Kanwar has countered the allegations by slamming the airline for the delay in inspection and paperwork.

In an October 7 letter addressed to the Prime Minister’s Office, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Minister of State Jayant Sinha, and secretary Civil Aviation RN Choubey, Agarwal pointed out that the airline’s second Cessna aircraft arrived from the US to Jaipur airport on May 22. Before its arrival, his airline submitted all necessary documents for Certificate of Registration (CofR) as well as Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) on May 19 to the Bhopal sub-regional office which gives the approval for Continuing Airworthiness Maintenance Organisation (CAMO), a process which takes place concurrently during the operator’s registration.

While the CofR was issued on June 14, the CofA was issued by the office only on October 3 while the file circulated between Bhopal, Mumbai and Delhi. Blaming the DGCA officials for keeping the brand new aircraft grounded for 135 days, Agarwal claimed that the airline suffered a notional loss of Rs 5.40 crore when it could have flown 12,000 passengers during this period, at a time when the Modi government is aggressively promoting regional connectivity to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.

According to Agarwal’s letter, the sluggishness in procedure was all a ruse to extract money from the airline.

The DGCA, however, have blamed the airline for the delay. In a letter issued on October 13, Kanwar said despite informing Agarwal of the deficiencies in the aircraft on September 22, he complied with it on only a week later. The Bhopal office submitted the inspection and other reports via email on September 29, but due to a long weekend over next three days, the papers were processed only on October 3, and CofA was issued day.
19/10/17 Satish Nandgaonkar/Mumbai Mirror