Tuesday, 25 March 2014

DGCA Directives for Operating Small Aircrafts during Elections

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued an Air Safety Circular (ASC) 2 of 2014, today, prescribing detail guidelines for operation of small aircraft or helicopters during the election period.


It notifies standard regulations in terms of operational safety, airworthiness areas and generation requirement for such air operations. The circular lays down penalty for non-compliance of guidelines which include:

a)      caution/warning to the operator/pilot/AME/accountable person;
b)      suspension of licence of pilot/AME;
c)      suspension of operations for a specified/entire period of operations;
d)      suspension of Air Operator Permit (AOP) with endorsement; and
e)      cancellation of AOP.

The copy of the circular has been sent to the Election Commission, State Governments and  non-scheduled operators.   It has also been put on the website of the DGCA www.dgca.nic.in.

This is a significant step in view of the fact that during election VVIPs/VIPs and  persons of eminence in public life use air travel frequently for electioneering and other purposes in small aircraft or helicopters of private and non-scheduled operators.  Besides, election flying is a highly demanding exercise in terms of skill levels and professionalism. Long flying-hours, a large number of take-offs and landings, weather changes, lack of proper rest, hurriedly prepared helipads, frequent changes in itinerary, time management, highly stressed security arrangement, surcharged crowd, congested airspace, difficult and disturbed areas and lack of adequate communication pose serious risks to air travel during elections.

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