DGCA calls meet with flying schools on Tuesday

(image) Hyderabad: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday favoured a complete revamp of issuing license to pilots and called meeting of all flying schools on Tuesday in a bid to put together an action plan to tackle the problem of fudging of documents to obtain licenses.

DGCA DG E K Bharat Bhushan said Pradeep Kumar, Assistant Director of DGCA who was arrested in connection with forging of marksheets to secure pilot license, had been under the Authority`s watch for some time.

"We had been watching him (Kumar). In fact, I had him transferred from the licensing department a month ago. There had been whispers (about his possible involvement in the scam) but we did not have proof," Bhushan told reporters here on the sidelines of GMR Aviation Security Summit aviation here.

He said the DGCA is fully cooperating with the Delhi police investigating the case.

Bhushan said there should be a "complete revamp" of the licensing system and DGCA is going to appoint a third party to scrutinize aviation academies which needed complete scrutiny.

"Our flying schools also needed complete scrutiny. We sometimes get the complaint that some of the flying hours they logged are not genuine," the DGCA said.

He said there is a meeting with all the flying schools on Tuesday to put together an action plan.

"In fact, I called all the flying schools. We will have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday where we are put together a through audit of the schools. We are trying to look at online solutions and looking at many possibilities. The situation has to improve a lot," he said.

Bhushan said the fake pilot license issue was serious in nature but there is no need to panic.

"Our overall safety mechanism is in place. Out of the 4,500 Airline Transport Pilot Licences issued, we have verified 1700 licences so far (after the scam broke out) and of these seven turned out to be fake," he said.

On foreign flying schools, Bhushan said the DGCA has decided not to take the licenses issues by international schools on the face value.

"Hence forth, we are not going to taking the licenses on the face value. We will refer back to the institute and seek information because some people who can fudge the marksheet can also fudge the license. One has to be careful in this," he said.

He said that it requires a lot of manpower and with the present number of employees it is difficult to carry out all the functions.

"Manpower is a big challenge. The problem which we are facing in DGCA is the organisation with a huge responsibility but with limited manpower. We are about 120 and 130 people. All are taking care of entire safety issues. My predecessor has got the approval for 520 personnel. But it has not been achieved," he said.