DGCA initiates action against airlines violating Goa directive

Meanwhile, ICPA warns against blind landings at Kathmandu airport


Sweta Ranjan | April 12, 2011

With certain navigational aids at the Goa airport being switched off for certain periods due to repairs, aviation regulator DGCA today initiated action against four airlines for operating flights despite being asked not to do so at those times.

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) had issued a NOTAM (notice to airmen) about a week ago advising all airlines not to operate flights during certain hours in a day when the ground-based radar system PAPI (precision approach path indicator) was non-functional due to repairs.

"Despite our warnings to respect the curfew hours, some airlines have violated this directive. They will have to pay for it. We will take action", DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan told PTI here

Official sources later said the DGCA is in the process of sending notices to Kingfisher, GoAir, JetLite and Jet Airways for having operated flights during these periods -- from 0900 hours to 1300 hours and 1500 hours till 1900 hours.

Bhushan said the NOTAM had warned all airlines not to operate flights of jet aircraft during this period due to shutting down of the crucial navigational aids.

He said he had a meeting with the chiefs of operations of all airlines "and told them that these curfew hours should be respected entirely. I had also warned them that in case of any violation, we will come down heavily on the operators as well as the flying crew"

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), one of the two Air India pilots' unions, has also asked its members not to operate flights to Goa during those periods when they would have to carry out "blind landings" or landings without navigational aids.

The unavailability of PAPI, which indicates the landing path, makes the pilot undertake landings visually. The radar system also indicates features like the distance and height before touchdown.

Asked about the ICPA directive to its members, Bhushan said, "I think if any association of pilots have said they are going to go by the curfew, it suits us. This is what we expect them to do".

Meanwhile, Air India said none of its flights to Goa would be affected and it will respect all rules laid down by the DGCA and the Indian Navy, which operates the airport.

ICPA sounds Goa-like alert for Kathmandu airport

Passengers beware! Not only are the flight-landings at the Goa airport unsafe and illegal but landing at the Kathmandu airport is also fraught with potential for diaster. Air India pilots on flights to Kathmandu are not updated with the mandatory Aerodrome Operating Minima (AOM) - a flying procedure manual - for modified Instrument Approach Procedure at Kathmandu.

After the blind landings of flights of not less than six airlines in Goa, the Indian Commercial Pilots association (ICPA) has also written to the Air India general manager (operations) to suspend its Kathmandu operations until thge pilots are equipped the mandatory AOM.

The letter written by the ICPA president captain A S Bhinder says, “We would like to draw your kind attention to DGCA’s Operation Circular Number 6 of 1999 which clearly states that “The Airport Authority of India and scheduled Airlines should keep updating these minima for the new facilities”…. You are requested to kindly provide the AOM for Kathmandu at the earliest possible failing which we will be directing our members accordingly in the interest of flight safety”.

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has pulled up Kingfisher, Jet, Jetlite and Go Air for serious safety violations at Goa airport. Despite warnings from DGCA  not to land in Goa in two phases of 4 hours each during the day till the end of this month, the airlines landed 19 flights which has put the lives of at least 5,000 passengers in danger. The airlines had no navigational air to land at Goa airport.

Recently, ICPA has passed a directive regarding its operations to Goa. ICPA had said that affilated pilots would not operate any flights to Goa keeping air safety concern in mind because PAPI (PRECISION APPROACH PATH INDICATOR) and Glide Path are not available at both runways.

The directive said, “as a notice to Airman (NOTAM) issued regarding PAPI (PRECISION APPROACH PATH INDICATOR)and Glide Path not available at both runways for aircraft landing between 9am and 1pm and 3pm and 7pm from April 4 to April 30 at GOA airport. All Pilots are hereby directed  NOT TO UNDERTAKE FLIGHTS repeat  NOT TO UNDERTAKE FLIGHTS to VAGO (GOA) till the landing aids such as PAPI and GP are fully available and functional”.



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