The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the Chief of Flight Safety at Air India for one month following findings of safety lapses within the airline’s accident prevention procedures.

The DGCA conducted a surveillance audit on July 25 and 26, evaluating aspects such as internal audits, accident prevention efforts, and the availability of technical staff, in compliance with flight safety guidelines and civil aviation requirements. Air India has acknowledged the report.

In response to these findings, Air India acknowledged and accepted the DGCA’s conclusions. The airline expressed regret for the lapses and emphasised that safety is their top priority. They are committed to improving their safety culture and standards through investments in people, processes, and systems.

“Safety is Air India’s highest priority, and we are investing heavily in people, processes and systems to raise Air India’s standards to best practice. We are sparing no effort to uplift the culture of safety and diligence to contemporary standards, through clarifying requirements, training and stricter consequence management. We will continue these efforts for as long as is needed to effect the necessary changes,” an Air India Spokesperson said.

Action report

After the audit, the DGCA requested an action report from Air India and subsequently issued show-cause notices to relevant personnel. Following a review of the responses received, the airline’s auditors involved in the perfunctory inspections were prohibited from conducting further audits, surveillance, or spot checks. Additionally, the Chief of Flight Safety at Air India received a one-month suspension due to established lapses.

The DGCA identified deficiencies in Air India’s accident prevention work and the availability of required technical manpower, as outlined in the approved Flight Safety Manual and relevant Civil Aviation Requirements.

During the audit, it was revealed that the airline was expected to perform internal safety checks in 13 areas, including cargo, ramp, and cabin surveillance. However, fabricated reports were allegedly submitted for all 13 cases.

In a separate incident in August, the DGCA suspended Air India’s approved training organization (ATO) license, impacting the operations of its Boeing simulator in Mumbai and Airbus simulator in Hyderabad. This action resulted from identified lapses during a spot check conducted by the regulator.