India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has drawn up measures to tighten the selection process for pilots operating scheduled airlines to check for fake licences (Economic Times/Indian Express/Reuters/Associated Press/ANI/Hindustan Times, 26-Mar-2011). The new guidelines come amid increasing controversy related to the issuance of fake licences this month. Details include:
- New guidelines: To be announced this week, will mainly comprise measures to change the process of issuing licences and improve coordination between the DGCA's central exam office and licence issuing unit. The new guidelines also reportedly involve the introduction of special software to conduct online examinations by Jul-2011. "To begin with, we will tweak the licence issuance process. Also, we will ensure that there is cross checking of pilots' mark sheets between the exam office and the licence issuing unit so that there greater transparency and less room for mistakes," said Bharat Bhushan, Director General of Civil Aviation;
- Arrests: 22 people have been arrested who allegedly hold fake licences. This includes seven air transport pilots and 15 holders of commercial pilot licences from Jaipur Flying Club. The discovery of such frauds forced the DGCA to review the documents of over 4500 pilots. Fourteen pilots have had their licences cancelled. SpiceJet stated three pilots have either been fired or resigned over the false documents. Meanwhile, four people, including a former DGCA official, have reportedly been arrested in the investigation of corruption in awarding flying licences to airline pilots;
- Pilot recruitment: The DGCA is making it mandatory for airlines to submit to the Civil Aviation Ministry monthly data on co-pilots recruited and details of their training. In an order issued on 24-Mar-2011, the DGCA requested all airlines to monitor hiring and training of Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) holders in an “effective manner”. Meanwhile, the DGCA has extended, with riders, the deadline for phasing out foreign pilots to the end of 2013;
- Flying schools: Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi stated the government will take strict action against fake flying schools that enable pilots to obtain licences without proper training and documents. The government is auditing the 40 flying schools in India.
India Government: "At present, we are trying to find the magnitude of the problem and have gone through the documents of 1700 ATPL pilots and we will review the documents of all the 4500 flying pilots. But I cannot say definitely how many cases will finally come to the fore. Nothing is to be given on the basis of certificates produced. No licence will be issued by the licensing directorate without the master copy available with the office," Bharat Bhushan, Director General. Source: Economic Times, 26-Mar-2011.