'Shut flying schools fudging records to give pilots licences'
New Delhi: With three DGCA teams auditing at
least 40 flying schools across the country, the government on Monday warned that those institutes found fudging records to
grant pilots' licences could be closed down immediately.
"Such fake institutions must be closed at the earliest. We
cannot encourage such institutions," Civil Aviation Minister
Vayalar Ravi told reporters here.
He, however, allayed apprehensions that a large number of
fake pilots were flying planes in the country, saying there
was no cause for panic as very few such cases have been
detected so far following the scrutiny of the documents of
hundreds of pilots.
After going through the documents of over 4,000 licences,
the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has lodged 13
First Information Reports with the Delhi Police's Crime
Branch. While six of them relate to Airline Transport Pilots
Licenses (ATPLs), seven FIRs concern records of Commercial
Pilot Licences (CPLs).
There are about 4,000 ATPLs, while about 10,000 CPLs have
been issued till date.
"The DGCA has been given full freedom to act on the
subject. Three committees have been formed which are going
into the cases simultaneously. All institutions (flying
schools) are being audited," Ravi said after a meeting with
German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer here.
"If anything fake is found - if the log books record
200-250 hours falsely, then definitely, we will take action",
During their audit drive, the DGCA teams, which include
outside experts too, would verify the logged flying hours with
the log books of air traffic controllers, where the flying had
taken place in controlled environment.
They would also compare the consumption of aviation fuel
by the flying schools and their fuel bills to see if they
match the flying hours clocked by their students.
Asked about the high fuel costs, the Minister said he had
recently met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the issue,
but blamed the state governments for imposing high rates of
sales tax on aviation turbine fuel which increases the fuel
bill of the airlines.
In this context, he said Kerala alone earned about Rs
3,600 crore annually through sales tax on ATF.