The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday suspended Air India’s Boeing simulator facility in Mumbai after finding certain alleged lapses during a spot check, a DGCA official said.
The pilots, who were scheduled to undergo refresher courses at the Mumbai facility, will now not be able to do so.
Their licenses and other certifications would lapse, affecting their ability to operate commercial flights.
Air India uses its Boeing planes primarily to operate its long-haul international flights.
If pilot licenses and certificates lapse, its international flights could get impacted.
Air India did not respond to queries sent by Business Standard.
“Air India has been directed to utilise the ATO (Approved Training Organisation) only after suitably addressing the concerns of DGCA raised following a spot check of the simulator,” a senior DGCA official told the newspaper.
All pilots have to undergo compulsory license renewal every six months using a simulator.
They also have to undergo certification courses — instrument rating, ground training refresher, aviation security — every year using a simulator.
If these certification courses and license renewals are not done, a pilot can’t operate a commercial flight.
Air India’s Mumbai simulator facility is used for Boeing pilots, while its Hyderabad facility is for Airbus pilots.
Air India has 74 Airbus planes and 53 Boeing planes in its fleet as on August 1, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.
An Air India official said these refresher programmes are not conducted on a daily basis.
The official claimed that there is no cause for concern as the training of pilots is scheduled on an annual basis.
“This is a routine exercise in the aviation sector, and a part of checks and balances in all airlines. We are taking corrective action (on the recent development).
“We have enough pilots to tide over this process of corrective action,” the airline official added.
In February, Air India had placed an order for 470 planes: 250 with European plane maker Airbus and 220 with Boeing.
This order is the world’s second-largest single-tranche aircraft purchase.
The order with Boeing is for 190 B737Max, 20 B787s and 10 B777s aircraft.
The Airbus firm order comprises 210 A320 family and 40 A350 planes.
A350, B777 and B787 are wide body aircraft that have bigger fuel tanks, allowing them to traverse long distances such as India-North America routes.
The Tata Group took control of Air India in January last year. In FY23, Air India’s net loss jumped by 19.16 per cent to Rs 11,387.96 crore.
Earlier this month, Air India unveiled its new logo and livery consisting of red, golden and violet colours.
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