DGCA to check airlines for flight safety norms compliance

New Delhi: In view of growing instances of safety lapses, aviation regulator DGCA will carry out a one-time surveillance of all airlines to ensure that they are complying with all safety norms during flight operations.

The latest move comes in the wake of a recent incident involving an Air India flight where the watchdog found that the carrier did not properly maintain flight operations data.

"One time surprise surveillance of all airlines to check whether they are complying with the Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) norms will be carried out," a senior DGCA official today said.

The DGCA chief has already given approval for this one-time exercise, he said. FOQA is a programme to improve aviation safety through the proactive use of flight recorded data, under which the operators use the data to identify and correct deficiencies in all areas of flight operations.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has stringent norms in place to ensure the safety of flights.

Noting that the DGCA chief has given the approval, the official said the surveillance would be done to ascertain whether carriers are monitoring the data being recorded since it is a key factor for ensuring flight safety.

On June 28, a Bengaluru-Hyderabad flight operated by Air India had bounced off on the runway in Hyderabad. An initial probe by the regulator found that the carrier did not maintain the flight operations data that was available in the Solid State Flight Data Recorder (SSFDR).

After finding lapses, the regulator has also issued a showcause notice to Air India's Director of Flight Safety, the official said. "There has been a poor oversight by the concerned personnel," the official added.

Following the incident, which happened on June 28, the national carrier has already suspended one official.

Existing regulations mandate full monitoring of a flight by a carrier and the relevant data has to be maintained for at least six months.

As per DGCA norms, the carrier should have in their safety division adequately qualified persons to analyse incidents, defects, carry out internal safety audits and monitor flight operations quality assurance by downloading flight data recorder information.

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