DGCA to crack down on airlines over pilot test

DGCA to crack down on airlines over pilot test

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is examining whether airlines are carrying out the mandatory proficiency checks for pilots as per norms after it came to light that Air India and Jet Airways have pilots without valid licences.

As per DGCA norms, airlines will have to undertake such tests every six months. The aviation regulator is now planning to take action against erring operators after it found that many of them are not conducting such tests.

The Pilot Proficiency Test is required for maintaining the validity of a pilot's licence. The licences become invalid if such tests are not conducted in six months time. Earlier also, pilots had to undergo two tests but the first test could happen within eight months.

Officials said the fresh move comes amid incidents of airlines failing to renew licences and allow pilots to fly planes without necessary documents.

The fresh incident was related to Air India whose 102 pilots were apparently operating flights without the mandatory licences. This comes weeks after the DGCA took action against Jet Airways and suspended 131 pilots of the private carrier who operated flights without valid licences.

Air India has submitted a report to the DGCA on Saturday seeking a “sympathetic view” from the regulator. The report is under examination by the DGCA.

Officials at the national carrier said the new norms have led to the current problem but they have rectified it. Air India had found that the licences of 102 pilots operating the wide-bodied flights were expired.

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