India has no plans to shut down any of its airline companies, the country’s aviation regulator says.
“The government is not contemplating or [has] earlier thought about closing down any airline operations,” says Prashant Sukul, acting chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which supervises safety and other aviation regulatory measures.
Earlier this year, DGCA threatened to suspend the license of debt-ridden private carrier Kingfisher Airlines if it did not begin to pay employee salaries on time and use more aircraft for daily operations.
DGCA also will take no action against Kingfisher for “non-compliance of safety regulations,” which was being considered, Sukul said.
DGCA has scheduled a July 14 meeting of all major airlines to discuss safety issues arising from a November-January audit. Based upon satisfactory compliance, letters were issued to all scheduled domestic airlines on May 25, he said.
“The airlines were asked to ensure that deficiencies were addressed as per the target date,” he said.
The announcement comes after the government abruptly dismissed E.K. Bharat Bhushan as DGCA chief earlier this week, although he had received a six-month extension by the cabinet’s Appointments Committee.
The federal aviation ministry has refused to reveal why Bhushan was ousted.
Bhushan took over as the DGCA chief in 2010. He was known for his tough measures to enforce safety and the uncovering of numerous aviation rules violations.
Sukul denied there was any pressure to dump Bhushan. “How can there be lobbying against Bhushan? The decisions are not influenced by the private sector,” he says.
Kingfisher-200 photo: Airteam Images