Monday, August 28, 2023

DGCA audit finds Air India forged report of spot checks in 13 instances, ET Infra

An audit by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has found that Tata Sons-owned Air India made forged reports of spot checks that it did not actually carry out.

The audit report, seen by ET, says the airline fabricated reports of 13 checks at three stations.

“After cross verification with CCTV // footage//, it was understood that 13 spot checks shown to be carried out at Delhi, Mumbai and Goa were established to have not been carried out. However, reports were subsequently falsified when the DGCA asked for it,” the civil aviation regulator said in the audit report.

Still, the reports were accepted by two top officials of the airline, the DGCA said. “This questions the integrity of the spot checks performed by the head of quality management services and chief of flight safety who accepted the records,” it said.

The spot checks were supposed to be carried out between January and June by Air India to ensure safety in critical areas like load and trim, ramp of the aircraft, post-flight medical examination and cabin surveillance.

Under DGCA rules, airlines must regularly carry out checks to ensure that the safety system is working properly. The regulator also surprises surveillance checks.

DGCA chief Vikram Dev Dutt said the regulator was investigating the matter. Sources said Dutt had a meeting with Air India chief executive Campbell Wilson, who was asked to rectify the issues within 30 days. Wilson is also the accountable manager for Air India and can face penalty after the probe.

Messages sent to Harpreet Singh, head of quality management services of Air India who had signed the reports and Rajeev Gupta, chief of flight safety, were not responded to. DGCA said the quality management services cannot do audits as it does not come under the ambit of the DGCA.

Air India in a statement said it was addressing the issues raised by the DGCA. “All aviation companies, including Air India, are subject to regular safety audits by regulators and other bodies both in India and overseas. Air India actively engages in such audits to continually assess and strengthen our processes,” an airline spokesperson said.

28/08/2023 B2B

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