DGCA grounds Orbit Aviation jet for violations

The aircraft bearing registration VT-PSB is owned by Orbit Aviation Private Limited, where deputy chief minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal is a shareholder.

Written by Mihir Mishra | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2014 2:22 am

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has grounded another business jet on account of “serious” safety violations, during its ongoing audit to ensure safe flying during the election season.

The aircraft bearing  registration VT-PSB is owned by Orbit Aviation Private Limited, where deputy chief minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal is a shareholder.

“The pilots as well as the cabin crew were not trained in safety and emergency procedures. The pilots of the aircraft were not carrying documents that are mandated to be carried. These are all serious lapses, which cannot be overlooked,” said a senior DGCA official, on condition of anonymity.

The official added that the aircraft would only be allowed to fly after the operator meets all safety requirements.

When contacted, an official of Orbit Aviation refused to comment on the issue.

Orbit Aviation has three aircraft — an eight-seater Cessna 525 (which has been grounded), an eight-seater Super King Air B200 and a  Bell 429 helicopter.

Reportedly, Sukhbir Singh Badal holds shares in Orbit Aviation directly, and through his firms Orbit Resorts and media firm G-Next Media Private Limited.

As part of its drive to ensure safety during the election season, the regulator had earlier grounded a business jet owned by Reliance Commercial Dealers Limited, as its safety equipments were outdated.

The aircraft was allowed to fly a day later after the safety requirements were met.

These instances of violations have been detected despite the DGCA issuing a directive to all airlines on April 3, cautioning them to follow all guidelines or face penal action.

Prior to this notice, the DGCA had issued a set of guidelines on March 24. But four days after the guidelines were issued, a Hawker 800 XP of SRC Aviation and an aircraft owned by Poonawalla Aviation Company were held for violating norms.

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