The crash of a chartered Bell 212 helicopter on Sunday in the outskirts of Mumbai that killed five will likely force India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to scrutinize procedures related to preserving wreckage and the altitudes at which helicopters fly.
Directorate General of Civil Aviation
Overriding a three-month-old directive that resulted in difficulties and delays in obtaining crew visas and temporary landing permits (TLPs), India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has authorized the nation’s consulates abroad to grant business visas to crew of nonscheduled and chartered flights. Not to be confused with the landing permit for the aircraft, the TLP permits customs to allow entrance into India by crewmembers of nonscheduled flights, the DGCA said.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has banned nonscheduled air operator permit (AOP) holders–including indigenous business jet operators––from flying to international destinations unless certification documents adhere to the international air operator certification manual.
This follows an ICAO safety audit of India last December that found “significant safety concerns,” with deficiencies in AOP holders and maintenance. Last month, an Indian-registered business jet was refused landing by Singapore as it did not have AOP documentation.
Lion Air, Indonesia’s largest domestic carrier, is expanding its routes and training facilities, having ordered 20 Cessna 172s and one Boeing 737-900ER simulator, its third, to shore up an impending need for pilots. The budget carrier has placed orders for more than 500 narrowbodies with Boeing and Airbus; it currently has a fleet of 96 aircraft.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has informed India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that it will conduct an independent safety audit of air transport oversight on the subcontinent in August. India has asked for an extension of the date.
The notice follows a report published in March by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that identified significant safety concerns overlooked by India while overseeing its airlines (air operators, charters and general aviation).
India has reduced the advance application requirements for foreign-registered aircraft from seven to three business days for landing permits and from three days to one business day for overflight permits. The legislation, which has been cleared by the state cabinet, is now awaiting amendment to the civil aviation requirements by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to enable it to be enforced. That process is likely to take around two months, sources have told AIN.
As India’s air traffic grows and skies get crowded, the country’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Civil Aviation have finally reached an agreement on a long-standing demand for flexible use of airspace (FUA). The implementation will stand “subject to ensuring adequate safeguards in the system to prevent inadvertent leaks of military information and dissemination of any information on military aviation activities strictly on a ‘need to know’ basis,” noted a government statement. The military currently controls approximately 65 percent of India’s airspace.
Ajit Singh, head of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and members of the Association of Indian Commercial Pilots have begun another safety-focused battle of wills. The pilots have filed a petition in court claiming the minister overstepped his authority when his department increased the maximum number of hours pilots will be expected to fly in a single day, as well as the length of their maximum allowable duty day. The pilots claim Singh’s actions violate current Indian civil aviation rules.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) expects to complete its second safety audit of that nation’s airlines by next month. The audits began with a look at Kingfisher Airlines and Air India Express because of ongoing labor issues at those airlines. The DGCA expects the first of these reports to be released soon.
Concerns over the safety oversight of financially struggling Kingfisher Airlines continue, even as the fleet–once 64 aircraft strong–has now shrunk to six A320s and five ATR 72s. The fleet reduction, driven largely by non-payment of leases, comes as a portion of the company’s pilots took strike action on August 18 to protest more than six months of back wages owed them by Kingfisher.