DGCA: Increased technical issues due to Covid lockdowns, reduced flight operations

Closures and reduced flight operations due to Covid could be the reason for the growing number of technical malfunctions reported by Indian airlines, DGCA chief Arun Kumar told The Indian Express, adding that the airline safety regulator strengthens its monitoring to minimize such events.

“The reasons for the increasing number of technical issues appear to be related to Covid which has impacted airline operations due to lockdown and reduced operations etc. Also, there is a universal post-Covid labor shortage problem, not just with one airline or one country. “, Kumar said in an interview.

According to official data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), more than 460 technical issues were reported by airlines in India in the last year.

Last week, the DGCA ordered a special audit of all commercial airlines following a number of “engineering related incidents” on various carriers. As part of its inspection, the regulator will study the availability of manpower, facilities and equipment, in addition to aircraft grounded for non-availability of spare parts.

Kumar also said many technical issues “are actually routine.” “What is required is that as a flight crew you must be alert, vigilant and react to situations as they unfold, and if you are following standard operating procedures , you can browse without compromising security. This means that if you are on the ground, you take care of the snag symptoms before going any further; and if in the air, perform the checklist actions appropriately and, if necessary, request a priority, precautionary or emergency landing as appropriate,” he said.

Arun Kumar, Head of DGCA

“I must express our appreciation to our pilots, who showed exemplary skill and negotiated such snags with confidence and did not compromise safety,” he said.

Recent spot checks by the DGCA revealed that airlines are incorrectly identifying the causes of reported aircraft faults and not placing qualified engineers at all airports.

Over the past few months, Indian carriers have been plagued with technical malfunctions ranging from engine problems and burning cabin smells to cabin depressurization. Last week, a Boeing 787 wide-body aircraft operated by Air India with around 260 people on board suffered cabin depressurization on a flight from Dubai to Kochi, resulting in the deployment of oxygen masks and some passengers suffering from bleeding of nose.

Earlier this month, an Airbus A320neo operated by IndiGo, en route from Sharjah to Hyderabad, diverted to Karachi in Pakistan after pilots were informed of an engine failure in the plane’s right engine .

Prior to this incident, an Air India Express plane from Kozhikode in Dubai diverted to Muscat in Oman after a burning smell was reported from one of the forward galley vents of the Boeing 737-800.

Budget airline SpiceJet saw at least eight incidents in less than a month in May-June, following which the regulator issued a demonstration notice to the airline, saying it had ‘failed’ to establish safe, efficient and reliable air services.

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