An increasing trend of financially strained releasing aircraft under “minimum equipment list” (MEL). Under this, an aircraft is cleared to fly by allowing a non-critical component to be repaired or replaced within a certain time frame. This has been identified as the third major cause for the recent increase in mid-air scares.
Accordingly, the regulator on Monday directed airlines to tackle these issues latest by July 28, failing which strict action will be taken.
The directive came a day after Union aviation minister J M Scindia met top ministry and DGCA officials following the spurt in incidents.
On Monday, Scindia held a one on one with top brass of airlines to issue a one line directive — safety is of paramount importance and there should be no compromise with the same.
The DGCA order issued on Monday said: “There have been reports of increased engineering related occurrences in scheduled airlines in recent times. In order to ensure that airlines are adhering to the laid down standards, DGCA has conducted several spot checks in the recent past.”
The spot checks carried out by DGCA teams have indicated — “improper identification of cause of a reported defect; increasing trend of MEL releases and non-availability of required certifying staff to cater to multiple scheduled arrivals / departures in a short interval.”
The regulator adds 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.”
Based on these findings, the DGCA has directed that all aircraft at base and transit stations shall be released by certifying staff holding AME (aircraft maintenance engineer) Category B1 / B2 licence with appropriate authorization by their organisation.
“You (airlines) are therefore advised to position certifying staff ( AME Category B1 / B2 licence ) at all base and transit stations including availability of required tools and equipment . Alternatively , you may opt for sending the certifying staff on flight duties. Compliance with the above shall be ensured by July 28, 2022 under intimation to this office,” the order issued by deputy DG of the DGCA Tuhinanshu Sharma said.