DGCA grounds 11 GMR pilots

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) has grounded 11 pilots and six crew members of GMR for three months as mandatory checks were skipped, a charge denied by the company.

The DGCA action came as one of its team found that several flights operated by GMR Aviation last month, including one on Monday when its aircraft flew Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to Bhubaneshwar, had skipped some mandatory tests.

The tests included the pre-flight breath analysis of pilots and cabin crew, with the breathalyser equipment being non-functional, sources said. The non-scheduled charter operator’s documentation and equipment were monitored between March 12 and April 14 and DGCA found evidence of “false” pre-flight medical checks, sources said.

GMR’s Falcon 2000-Lx, one of the most advanced business jets in the country, is used extensively by the Gandhis, who also use its Hawker-750 airplane and two Bell choppers. The regulator also decided to act against the company’s doctor for issuing pre-flight medical certificates to the crew even when the breathalyser equipment was not working for almost a month.

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