Pilot suspensions rose 2x in 2022 for violating safety norms: DGCA

A DGCA official stated that the minimum period of licence suspension in 2022 was one month and the maximum was three years

Deepak Patel New Delhi
With quality flying schools in India being few and far between, many aspiring pilots go abroad to train, where a licence costs anywhere between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 25 lakh (living costs are extra)

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended the licences of 92 pilots in 2022 for violating safety norms, which was more than double the 2021 figure.
The number of scheduled flights (domestic and international) in India increased by 32.74 per cent to 1.3 million in 2022, according to data from aviation analytics firm Cirium.

A DGCA official stated that the minimum period of licence suspension in 2022 was one month and the maximum was three years.
In 2021, the DGCA data reviewed by Business Standard showed a total of 41 suspended licences. This number jumped by 124.39 per cent to 92 in 2022, the data stated.

The DGCA official said that the number of “runway incursion” incidents in India was the highest in 2022 in at least five years. When an aircraft, person, or vehicle is in the wrong area of the runway, it can lead to an accident with another aircraft that is either taking off or landing. Such incidents are called “runway incursions”.
According to DGCA data, the number of runway incursions in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 were 40, 25, 15, 35, and 45, respectively.

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The Indian aviation regulator has been very strict whenever there has been a violation of safety norms by pilots, the official stated. For example, last August, the DGCA suspended the licence of a SpiceJet pilot for six months following an incident on May 1, 2022, when the airline’s flight from Mumbai to Durgapur had faced severe turbulence and resulted in injuries to 14 passengers and three cabin crew members.

In its suspension order, the regulator told the pilot that there was a delay in turning on the seat belt sign for passengers. Also, the order mentioned that the pilot should have grounded the plane at Durgapur itself after the incident as it had a faulty radar. However, the pilot flew the aircraft to Kolkata. 
Two months ago, India jumped from rank 112 to 55 in the latest safety audit done by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The audit, called ICAO coordinated validated mission (ICVM), was conducted in India between November 9 and 16 last year in five areas, the DGCA said.


First Published: Apr 18 2023 | 8:52 PM IST

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