India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) accused the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of trying to undermine the industry’s reputation by leaking observations made about nonscheduled operators during routine safety checks. According to the industry group, government officials have disclosed the findings of the checks to divert blame from the DGCA in the wake of the January 2014 downgrading of India’s safety rating by the U.S. FAA.
“Most of the cases brought to light have been minor and level-two observations, which do not even prescribe the grounding of aircraft or penalties,” BAOA secretary R.K. Bali told AIN. “This is causing damage to the business aviation industry as it tries to limp back to a saner business environment.”
In a letter sent by the BAOA to India’s civil aviation secretary, Ashok Lavasa, Bali argues that India’s safety downgrade “is more a result of deficiencies on the regulator’s part.” He accused DGCA officials of trying “to detract attention and to shift blame for the FAA downgrade onto private aircraft operators.”
Last month the DGCA issued safety guidelines and threatened to cancel the air operator certificates of any operator failing to conform to safety standards. The development came in the run-up to India’s national elections as politicians scurried to charter aircraft to make campaign flights.