DGCA inspection finds lapses in Air India's internal safety auditstext_fields
New Delhi: A recent inspection conducted by a two-member team from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has uncovered deficiencies in Air India's internal safety audits, prompting regulatory scrutiny.
The inspection, which took place at Air India's office in Gurugram, Haryana on July 25 and 26, revealed lapses in the airline's compliance with safety protocols.
The inspection team's findings indicated that Air India was required to conduct regular safety spot checks across various operational areas, including cabin surveillance, cargo, ramp, and load. However, during a random evaluation of 13 safety points, the team discovered that the airline had fabricated false reports for all 13 cases.
The team's assessment exposed that these spot checks, supposedly carried out at stations in Mumbai, Goa, and Delhi, were not actually performed, as verified through cross-referencing with CCTV footage, auditee statements, shift registers, passenger manifests, and other documents.
The report also disclosed that these fraudulent spot-check reports were prepared or falsified only upon the demand of the DGCA team. Notably, the team identified that these fabricated reports lacked the signature of the Chief of Flight Safety (CFS), the designated authority responsible for such endorsements.
The inspection team's visit to Air India's office was prompted by concerns over the airline's internal safety practices. Upon encountering these lapses, the DGCA promptly initiated an investigation into the matter.
Among the specific instances cited in the inspection report was Air India's claim of conducting Pre-Flight Medical Examinations, including alcohol consumption tests for pilots. However, the team found that internal auditors had not physically visited the facility, and equipment details and test readings were omitted from the checklist. Similarly, discrepancies were found in other operational areas such as ramp services and cabin surveillance.
The inspection also revealed procedural issues concerning the audit process itself.
The team highlighted a lack of written communication indicating the delegation of authority to auditors and the absence of proper differentiation between flight safety auditors and Quality Management System (QMS) auditors. The QMS auditors' qualifications did not align with those specified in the Flight Safety Manual.
Air India responded by noting that all airlines undergo regular safety audits and affirmed its active engagement in such evaluations to strengthen operational processes. The airline also stated its commitment to addressing any concerns raised by relevant authorities.
As regulatory scrutiny continues, the airline is expected to take corrective actions to rectify the identified deficiencies and enhance its safety protocols.