Regulator Cancels Six Flight Slots For Jet Airways, IndiGo and GoAir

India's aviation authority says airlines did not train pilots in so-called CAT III operations for safe flight in the foggy months of winter, particularly in northern India.

Jan. 31--NEW DELHI -- The aviation regulator has cancelled two flight slots each of Jet Airways, IndiGo and GoAir for not following rules.

All six flights were from Delhi. The airlines had flight crew on their aircraft who were not trained in landing under heavy fog, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) found.

DGCA has made it mandatory for pilots to be trained in so-called CAT III operations for safe flight in the foggy months of winter, particularly in northern India.

"DGCA has been in continuous touch with airlines to ensure deployment of CAT III compliant aircraft and CAT III trained crew during fog period," the regulator said in a statement. "However, in spite of repeated efforts in this regard, two flights each of Jet Airways, GoAir and IndiGo were diverted from Delhi to Jaipur."

DGCA said this was brought to the notice of airlines but they refused to act according to the rules.

It is usual for DGCA to announce slot cancellations publicly.

IndiGo and GoAir did not immediately comment on the development.

A spokeswoman for Jet Airways said the airline has been in touch with the DGCA on the issue. "Furthermore, the airline has investigated the matter and have confirmed that the diversions occurred on ATR type of airplane. These aircraft are not cleared to conduct approaches below CAT I minimums due to regulatory restrictions," the spokeswoman said.

There have already been two emergencies this fog season, when the pilots said they were about to run out of fuel after hovering over airports for too long.

"This action seems to be more to cover two very serious events. The accident at Jaipur, which has not been declared an accident, and the SpiceJet flight on the same day that landed with less than two minutes of fuel when they were diverted back to Delhi," said Mohan Ranganathan, a pilot and member of the civil aviation safety advisory committee.

The aviation regulator's announcement came a day after Mint reported that DGCA has asked private airlines to provide special privileges to member of Parliament.

Copyright 2014 - Mint, New Delhi

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