Aviation regulator finds engineer did not detect fault in aircraft.
New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA has suspended the licence of an aircraft maintenance engineer of GoAir, owned by Wadia Group, for failing to detect a fault in an aircraft.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation found that the AME failed to see a glitch in the magnetic plug below the gearbox of one of the aircraft, and cleared the aircraft for take-off.
It led to suspected gear failure and an emergency situation when the aircraft had to return to New Delhi instead of flying to Bengaluru on Wednesday evening.
The DGCA said the AME did not follow the trouble-shooting manual and ignored a warning, putting the lives of passengers at risk.
People familiar with the matter in the DGCA said there was no engine fire when the aircraft was midair or while landing in Delhi. The flight was carrying 190 people. “Due to wrong action on the part of the AME, DGCA suspended his licence yesterday pending investigation,” a DGCA official who does not want to be named said.
In another matter, the pilot licence of Air India’s ED (operations) Capt. A.K. Kathpalia may be suspended for three months if it is proved in the airline’s final report that he had skipped alcohol detection tests, DGCA officials said.
Mr Kathpalia was on Thursday off-rostered by the airline on the orders of the DGCA. According to the aviation regulator, a section of the airline’s pilots have also written to the government again, saying Mr Kathpalia skipped alcohol detection test on several occasions.
“The executive director (operations) of Air India has been off-rostered based on the preliminary report of Air India. They have been asked to expedite submission of the final report along with evidence to the DGCA. Final action will be taken after receipt of final investigation report of Air India,” a DGCA official had said earlier.
People familiar with the matter said Mr Kathpalia took verbal permission from the DGCA to operate a flight to Bengaluru after informing that he had “forgotten” to undergo the pre-flight test for alcohol detection.
The permission was given subject to him undergoing a post-flight check, they said. But there is no record of any post-flight test undergone by him, which the DGCA has taken seriously.
Recently, the DGCA said there were 422 air safety violations in 2016 by pilots, cabin crew and aircraft maintenance engineers of scheduled airlines in the country, a sharp increase from 275 in 2015. The DGCA said this was due to “heightened surveillance” last year.
Out of the 422 cases detected last year, as many as 272 airline employees including pilots and cabin crew were suspended for varying periods last year by the DGCA.
As many as 108 employees were let off last year with a warning. The violations included failing in the pre-flight medical test for alcohol detection.