On Friday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which is responsible for regulating civil aviation in India, imposed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Air India due to its failure to adequately address the “safety-sensitive issue” of a pilot allowing a female friend into the cockpit during a Delhi-Dubai flight on February 27.
Air India has been fined for the third time in less than four months by the DGCA for their shortcomings.
DGCA Fined Air India
Initially, there was confusion about the flight number, and officials had reported that the incident happened on a Dubai-Delhi flight. However, it has now been clarified that the incident actually occurred on a Delhi-Dubai flight.
The aviation regulator, in a statement, imposed a penalty on Air India for its failure to take prompt corrective action related to the incident where a pilot allowed a female friend into the cockpit during a Delhi-Dubai flight.
However, Air India rejected the assertion. The pilot who operated the flight had his license suspended for three months. Further, the co-pilot received a warning for not being assertive in preventing the violation.
According to a statement from the DGCA, Air India has been instructed to take administrative action against the Staff On Duty (SOD) or passengers who entered the cockpit during the flight and prevent them from holding any managerial roles in the organization for a specific period.
The regulator has imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for not addressing the safety issue related to the incident in a timely manner. However, the airline has denied the claim.
The pilot’s license has been suspended for three months. Subsequently, the co-pilot has been cautioned for not taking assertive action to prevent the violation.
The DGCA said that during the flight AI-915 from Delhi to Dubai on February 27, the pilot allowed an airline SOD passenger to enter the cockpit during the cruise, violating regulations.
CEO received the Complaint
According to a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) statement, Air India’s CEO was informed of a safety-sensitive violation. They received it from a crew member of a Delhi-Dubai flight.
However, the airline did not take swift corrective action, prompting the complainant to approach the regulator. As a result, the DGCA has imposed a penalty of Rs 30 lakh on Air India for failing to address the issue promptly and effectively.
Air India has acknowledged and accepted the ruling by the DGCA. But rejected the assertion that no action was taken in response to the complaint.
According to the airline, several allegations required due process and confidentiality. Further, these commenced immediately upon receiving the complaint.
DGCA Action over Air India Pilot Cockpit Issue
The DGCA has taken several actions regarding the Delhi-Dubai flight incident. The pilot in command has had his license suspended for three months due to misuse of authority and violation of regulations.
After becoming aware of the incident, DGCA directed Air India to remove the entire crew from the Delhi-Dubai flight until investigations were completed.
Furthermore, on April 21, DGCA issued show cause notices to Air India CEO Campbell Wilson and the Head of Safety, Security and Quality Functions Henry Donohoe for not timely reporting the incident to the regulator.
Sources previously reported that the incident occurred on February 27 and was reported via a confidential email to Campbell and Donohoe on March 3. This marks the third time that DGCA has penalized Air India for lapses related to certain incidents since January 20.
Air India was fined Rs 10 lakh on January 24 by the DGCA for not reporting two instances of unruly passenger behavior on a Paris-Delhi flight on December 6, 2022.
The airline failed to report an incident involving a passenger smoking in the lavatory. Further, not follow the crew’s instructions, and another incident where a passenger allegedly urinated on a fellow female passenger’s seat and blanket. Subsequently, the airline was penalized for not informing the regulator about these incidents immediately.
Before this, on January 20, DGCA imposed a fine of Rs 30 lakh on Air India. Further, the license of the pilot-in-command of a New York-Delhi flight was suspended when a male passenger allegedly urinated on a female co-passenger.
The incident that occurred on November 26, 2022, resulted in a fine of Rs 3 lakh being imposed on Air India’s Director of In-flight Services by the aviation watchdog for not fulfilling her responsibilities.
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