New Delhi: Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will keep a close watch on aircraft maintenance engineers after it has noticed cases of increasing violations when it comes to alcohol.
The regulator had allowed engineers to be tested for alcohol before they taxi planes when aircraft come in for maintenance at night. Pilots also have to undergo similar checks every time they fly a plane.
A DGCA spokesman said in recent audits it has found that the alcohol checks were not being done by airlines and it has now sought data from airlines for September.
An aircraft being taxied by an engineer had skidded three years ago. The engineer was found to be drunk, triggering rules for compulsory alcohol checks.
DGCA recently suspended licences of three aircraft maintenance engineers and took “enforcement” action against 13 other personnel of various air operators and maintenance, repair and overhaul facility providers for alleged violation of safety norms.
Indian airlines are clocking a double-digit growth, leading to congestion at metro airports. More planes means more engineers are also being hired.
Indian airlines will operate 21% more flights in the winter season that starts at the end of this month.
There will be 16,600 departures a week in the winter season schedule effective 30 October, compared with 13,744 at the same time last year.
Domestic air traffic in India has been growing at a pace of more than 10% annually for the past two years. It grew nearly 24% in August from a year ago.
As many as 8.38 million passengers flew in August.