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137 commercial pilots grounded for violations: Govt

New Delhi:Aviation regulator DGCA has grounded 137 commercial pilots from across airlines this year for their involvement in various accidents/incidents and safety violations, Rajya Sabha was informed today.

However, in Air India Express, which is the international budget arm of state-run Air India, only one pilot was grounded in the past one year, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

The Minister also said that the total number of pilots who may be grounded/suspended due to these reasons at point of time is catered for.

Replying to another question, Sinha said that Air India has sufficient number of pilots to carry out its operations.

A total of 409 safety violations by the flight crew of scheduled operators, non-scheduled operators and general aviation have been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the last three years and till October this year, Sinha said.

The violations include failing in alcohol test, operating flights beyond validity of pilots proficiency check, allowing unauthorised entry in the cockpit and flight duty time limitation (FDTL)

Of 409 safety violations, a total of 203 cases were of pilots failing the mandatory alcohol test while 123 cases of the FDTL violations, according to Sinha.

According to the data, of the 164 cases of safety violation by the flight crew reported till October this year, a total of 55 cases are of the pilots failing in the breath analyser test.

The DGCA issues guidelines to the industry and personnel from time to time regarding safety violations besides a structured procedure for issuance of civil aviation requirement to ensure that instructions issued are unambiguous as part of the corrective steps, Sinha said in reply to another question.

Ambiguity in pilots proficiency requirement has been corrected, he said.

Also, DGCA carries out surveillance/audit as per its annual surveillance programme. Deficiencies observed are followed with concerned operator for appropriate corrective action, Sinha said.