DGCA acts against airlines violating its Goa directive

New Delhi: With certain navigational aids at the Goa airport being switched off for certain periods due to repairs, aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday initiated action against four airlines for operating flights despite being asked not to do so at those times.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued a NOTAM (notice to airmen) about a week ago advising all airlines not to operate flights during certain hours in a day when the ground-based radar system PAPI (precision approach path indicator) was non-functional due to repairs.

"Despite our warnings to respect the curfew hours, some airlines have violated this directive. They will have to pay for it. We will take action", DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan told PTI here.

Official sources later said the DGCA is in the process of sending notices to Kingfisher, GoAir, JetLite and Jet Airways for having operated flights during these periods — from 0900 hours to 1300 hours and 1500 hours till 1900 hours.

Bhushan said the NOTAM had warned all airlines not to operate flights of jet aircraft during this period due to shutting down of the crucial navigational aids.

He said he had a meeting with the chiefs of operations of all airlines "and told them that these curfew hours should be respected entirely. I had also warned them that in case of any violation, we will come down heavily on the operators as well as the flying crew".

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), one of the two Air India pilots` unions, has also asked its members not to operate flights to Goa during those periods when they would have to carry out "blind landings" or landings without navigational aids.

The unavailability of PAPI, which indicates the landing path, makes the pilot undertake landings visually. The radar system also indicates features like the distance and height before touchdown.

Asked about the ICPA directive to its members, Bhushan said, "I think if any association of pilots have said they are going to go by the curfew, it suits us. This is what we expect them to do".

Meanwhile, Air India said none of its flights to Goa would be affected and it will respect all rules laid down by the DGCA and the Indian Navy, which operates the airport.

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