With airlines reporting multiple technical malfunction incidents, aviation regulator DGCA on Monday said it conducted spot checks and found that there is an insufficient number of engineering personnel certifying planes of various carriers before their departure.
Before each departure, an aircraft is checked and certified by an aircraft maintenance engineer (AME).
The DGCA has now issued guidelines for airlines on the deployment of AME personnel and directed them to comply by July 28.
The spot checks also found that the AME teams of airlines are improperly identifying the “cause of a reported defect”, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)’s order noted. They also found that there has been an “increasing trend of MEL (minimum equipment list) releases” of aircraft, it said.
“MEL releases” means an aircraft is allowed to fly with certain inoperative equipment or instruments for a specific period of time, until the repairs are done.
“It is also seen that airlines are resorting to frequent one-off authorisation to Category A certifying staff at transit stations which is not in line with existing regulatory provisions,” the DGCA said.
A Category A engineer is called a ‘limited scope engineer’, and he or she is allowed to certify and release planes for departures only when the aircraft does not have a complex defect.
Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia held one-on-one meetings with chiefs of Indian carriers on Monday, asking them to ramp up safety oversight, sources said.