Aviation committee holds meeting

New Delhi: Aiming to plug loopholes in the pilot licensing system and revamp it completely, a broad-based committee of the Civil Aviation Ministry has held its first meeting to suggest ways and means to make the system fool-proof.

"In the short-term, this Committee will suggest steps to plug the loopholes in the system, if any. In the long-run, they will consider technology-driven solutions having less human interface," Civil Aviation Ministry Secretary S N A Zaidi told PTI here.

The Ministry, he said, was "seriously pursuing this matter" and hoped that concrete suggestions would emerge after the 12-member panel submits its report in the next five weeks.

The Committee, headed by a Joint Secretary in the Ministry, has representatives from aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Indian Air Force, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Air India and independent aviation experts.

It would go into the systemic loopholes which could be responsible for the charges of bribery and issuing of flying licenses to pilots on the basis of forged documents and recommend measures to check them, official sources said.

The panel, which held its first meeting a few days ago, would also suggest steps to make the licensing examination system more transparent and fool-proof.

Among the measures to check fudging of records to secure pilot licenses, the DGCA has decided to conduct third party audits of all flying schools in the country and has started evolving new procedures to strengthen the audit process. In any case, such audits are carried out annually for renewal of licenses of these schools.

Apart from its own team of officials, the aviation regulator is planning to rope in independent experts and even some of its retired and experienced officials to carry out the audit of over 40 flying schools across the country, they said.

It is also planning to create an online national registry of pilots which would have a complete dossier on them, including their licenses and qualifications.

The DGCA is already in consultations with organisations like the NIC and the NASSCOM in this regard.

They said this online registry would address the problem of fudging of marksheets or logging of flying hours to a great extent by reducing human interface.