“Absolutely safe” aviation sector; Foreign carriers who came to India reported 15 tech issues in past 16 days: DGCA chief
Arun Kumar, head of the aviation watchdog DGCA, said on Sunday that technical problems faced by national carriers in recent weeks had no potential to cause havoc and that even foreign airlines who came to India reported 15 technical issues in the last 16 days.
The country’s civil aviation space is “absolutely safe” and all protocols set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are followed, he said.
Against the backdrop of a series of technical problems suffered by Indian airlines in recent weeks and the reduction of SpiceJet operations by the DGCA, Kumar stressed that there was no need to panic because none of the events which were reported/discussed had the potential to cause havoc.
“All the issues encountered are common and occur with all airlines and fleet types. In the past 16 days, even for foreign operators coming to India, we have seen 15 technical issues, which have been addressed and corrected,” Kumar told PTI in an interview.
Specific details about the problems faced by foreign carriers were not disclosed.
According to Kumar, the difficulties faced by foreign operators were similar to those faced by Indian carriers.
In recent times, more than a dozen cases of Indian carriers facing technical issues have been made public, particularly in the case of SpiceJet, and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is closely monitoring the developments.
“What most of them (recent incidents of technical issues) required was troubleshooting, replacement of some components, for example the windscreen due to a crack in the outer layer, a faulty valve, high-pressure switch, retracted landing gear, hydraulic accumulator or engine,” Kumar said.
The regulator launched a special two-month audit of airlines to address possible issues and scaled back SpiceJet operations, among other measures, amid a spike in technical issues.
After being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the domestic civil aviation sector is on the road to recovery and on average there are over 6,000 aircraft movements in Indian airspace every day. . If overflying aircraft are also taken into account, the total would be over 7,000 movements.
Aircraft movements include landings as well as departures.
During the three-month period from April 1 to June 30 this year, a total of 150 incidents occurred in aircraft operated by scheduled airlines due to component and system malfunctions, according to the Ministry of Health. ‘Civil Aviation.
During the period from May 2 to July 13, the DGCA undertook a special campaign of 353 spot checks.
Emphasizing that the aviation industry is “process driven”, Kumar said, “there are hundreds of thousands of components in an aircraft and if one or two components have problems, it doesn’t always mean that there are high risks or the possibility of an incident death”.
He also noted that it would be naïve to assume that an aircraft, which flies until it is airworthy, completes 40-50,000 flight hours, will not have a technical problem.
On July 27, the DGCA ordered SpiceJet to operate only 50% of its flights for eight weeks and decided to keep the airline under heightened surveillance following a series of technical problems suffered by the carrier’s planes.
On the same day, SpiceJet issued a statement indicating that due to the current travel season, the airline, like others, had already rescheduled its flight operations and that there would be absolutely no impact on its operations. aerial.
Responding to concerns expressed in some quarters that the DGCA’s action against SpiceJet was not strong enough, Kumar said: “I’m not here to shut down airlines. My role is to take steps to ensure a safe and efficient flight.”
The DGAC chief also mentioned that the fleet of Indian carriers is mostly young compared to that of many other countries. “The focus is always on safety and to make sure that no situation should escalate.”
The DGCA safety oversight process includes surveillance, spot checks and regulatory audits incorporated into the annual surveillance program.
On July 28, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told the Lok Sabha that a total of 478 technical issues had been reported over the past year – from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.