DGCA finds lapses in Air India safety audits

Close up of engine of Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Olivier Cleynen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Recently two officers from Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India (DGCA) conducted an inspection and found lapses in Air India’s internal safety audit.

As soon as this was uncovered, the DGCA launched a full investigation based on the inspection findings.

Concerns with Air India safety audits

“A two-member inspection team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has found lapses in internal safety audits of Air India. The findings of the surveillance team have raised a host of serious concerns and are being looked into further,” DGCA said in a statement.

As per the findings, this all began when the airline was supposed to conduct spot check across all the safety checkpoints which include aspects like cargo and passenger cabin.

But during investigation at 13 of such safety checkpoints it was found the airline had fabricated the data in reports in all these instances.

The investigating officers came into this conclusion after verifying evidence which included CCTV footage, shift logs, and passenger manifests.

It was found that the airline had falsified documents as the regulator (DGCA) had requested for them during their inspection.


An Air India flight is loaded at Mumbai Airport.
Ginevrajocosa88, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Safety checks not conducted

Random safety checks which were purportedly conducted at airports like Delhi, Mumbai and Goa had not been conducted as claimed by the airline.

According to PTI, it was also noted that the counterfeit reports did not have a signature from the airlines Chief of Flight Safety (CFS), which raised further serious security concerns.

The investigation also found that the report was signed by an auditor from the Quality Management System (QMS) which is not under DGCA purview, nor in accordance with the industry standard. DGCA guidelines requires the CFS to be responsible for all such reports.

It was also noted that the pre-flight medical checks for pilots (random spot checks) were shown as conducted by the airline but the actual readings from the checks were missing. Items were marked as “Satisfactory” even the equipment details were missing as well.

The report also highlighted the absence of internal auditor who was not present physically at the facility.

An Air India A321 flight on the tarmac at Chennai bound for Delhi.
Photo Credit: Gaurav Gowda

Cabin spot check anomaly

Another finding highlighting the issue of the airline manipulating reports occurred when Air India claimed to have completed a cabin surveillance spot check on 16th July, 2023 when the purported auditor for this inspection was travelling on a flight with his family members.

This finding has definitely raised a lot of safety and security concerns. Air India emphasized that all airlines undergo routine safety audits conducted by regulatory authorities and other relevant entities.

The spokesperson conveyed that Air India actively participates in these audits as part of its commitment to continuously evaluate and enhance its operational processes.

Furthermore, the airline stated its dedication to promptly addressing any concerns brought to the attention of the relevant authorities.

The final outcome of this investigation will be known only in due time.

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