REGULATORY MECHANISM for private non-scheduled aircraft must be improved, states a Parliamentary committee report on labour, submitted by Member of Parliament Kirit Somaiya in the Parliament on Friday. This comes in the light of five deaths in the Ghatkopar plane crash on June 26 this year.
The report states that the plane carried two ground engineers on the test flight, violating norms, and provided no insurance cover following their death. “The agencies informed the committee that the particular aircraft was grounded due to an accident in February 2008 and its certificate of airworthiness was cancelled. Also, it was repaired in a non-scientific manner, and was taken for test flight without getting completion certificate from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA),” read the report.
In July, the DGCA had audited Indamer, the agency that repaired King Air C-90 aircraft that crashed in Ghatkopar. Two pilots, two engineers and a local pedestrian, died in the crash. Observing that aircraft were allowed to undergo test flights without rectifying all defects, the DGCA partially suspended Indamer from conducting aircraft repair or maintenance work.
Somaiya, Chairperson of Parliament Standing Committee on Labour, textile and skills development ministry (2018-19) presented a report on Scheduled/Non-scheduled/ Test Flying Air operators/ maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) companies and safety and social security measures provided for their workers. The employees who died in the crash had no accidental insurance cover, informed the labour ministry to the committe, states the report.
“There are 600 private aircrafts or helicopters used in India, that are gaining momentum and increasing air traffic,”said Somaiya.
The King Air C-90 aircraft was purchased by Silver Jubilee for Rs 1.25 crore, and sold to UY Aviation in 2016 for Rs 1.40 crore, states the report. The repairs began in 2017. The aircraft was insured at a much higher cost of Rs 7 crore. “We have found discrepancies in the whole process. UY Aviation entered into an agreement with Indamer to maintain the aircraft much before it got approval from DGCA,” added Somaiya.
“Lack of proper network and lacunae in regulatory implementation system for non-schedule private air carriers is observed by the committee,” read the report, adding that civil aviation, labour ministry, and DGCA must review provisions and safety regulations for employees of non-schedule private aircrafts. “Despite multiple attempts, the police has still not registered an FIR in this case.
UY Aviation has declined to offer any compensation,” said Prabhat Kathuria, husband of co-pilot Maria Zuberi who died in the crash.