New Delhi: Airlines flouting rules relating to safety and passenger comfort will now have to pay higher penalties with new laws coming into effect.
The rules raise the penalty limit from a paltry Rs1,000 to up to Rs10 lakh and imprisonment of up to two years instead of a month earlier, official sources said, adding, the penalties would be imposed on an airline if it violates safety aspects like airworthiness of the aircraft, security and issues relating to passenger comfort.
Parliament had last year passed amendments to the 1934 Aircraft Act, which among other things also dealt with hiking the penalties for violation of various provisions of the law. Before being passed, the amendment bill was vetted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The legislation took into account liberalisation in the aviation industry and consequent opening up of the domestic air services, the massive growth in passenger traffic and the associated challenges.
While the new rules have been made harsh for the defaulters, the directorate general of civil aviation, which has brought out the new rules has already created teams comprising its own officials, airport and airline staffers at major airports to look into lapses and violation of safety and security issues. It would also take steps to encourage self- regulation by airlines.
DGCA, under the amended law, has been granted supervisory control over several matters, including maintaining of standards of communication, navigation, surveillance (CNS), air traffic management (ATM) and operation of foreign registered planes in the Indian skies.
The new law also provided for exercising control over manufacture, possession, use, operation and sale of civil aircraft. It also enables licensing of the personnel engaged in air traffic control and cover security aspects of aircraft operations.
The decision to amend the age-old law was taken in view of the major developments in the country’s aviation sector, the opening up of the sector and the switching of CNS-ATM from ground-based to satellite-based technology.