Aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday warned of strict action against non-scheduled flight operators as well as pilots concerned in case there are lapses in screening of passengers and baggage, amid instances of private planes being used to ferry large amounts of demonetised notes. Taking strong note of such incidents, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a fresh circular reiterating certain existing provisions that need to be followed by Non-Scheduled Operator (NSOP) permit holders.
Last week, the Civil Aviation Ministry had said it would take legal action including filing an FIR against the pilot who flew a private chartered jet to Dimpaur, Nagaland, with a passenger carrying Rs 3.5 crore worth scrapped notes.
“All NSOP holders and private aircraft operators are directed to strictly comply with the provisions of the AVESC order… failing which strict action as deemed appropriate shall be initiated against the pilot-in-command as well as the operator,” the circular said.
The circular has been issued on the basis of an earlier AVSEC (Aviation Security) order.
Citing that order, DGCA said screening of passengers and their baggage in small aircraft/helicopters up to ten seats should be done by the pilot-in-command as per BCAS regulations while the verifications have to be carried out by the police authorities concerned.
BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) is the key agency responsible for aviation security in the country.
Besides, no-objection certificate has to be procured from District Superintendent of Police before granting any permission to “operate from/to any non-operational/ non-sterile area or non-sterile airports/airstrips”.
“It has been reported that some of the NSOP permit holders have been engaged to carry demonetised currency from one part of the country to another, particularly from the uncontrolled airfields where there are no arrangements for screening of passenger baggage,” DGCA said.
A Bihar-based businessman, travelling alone in a chartered jet, was apprehended at the Dimapur airport for allegedly carrying Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised currency last week.
On November 8, the government announced cancelling Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as legal tenders as part of larger efforts to curb the black money menace.