Airlines told to address deficiencies, passenger complaints: Prashant Sukul

Newly-appointed chief of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation Prashant Sukul on Friday asked all airlines to strictly adhere to prescribed safety standards.

Mr. Sukul reviewed safety issues in civil aviation at a meeting here with the CEOs and representatives of the airlines. Some of the key areas which came up for review included 15-point surveillance, operational issues and the recently-conducted audit that included financial matters.

The airlines were asked to take action on the deficiencies pointed out and asked to properly conduct the internal audit in the prescribed manner, official sources said.

Among the operational issues, the airlines were apprised of passenger complaints received by the DGCA and were asked to prominently display and include in their tariff sheets the convenience charges or charges for printing second ticket, if levied by them.

“We have asked the airlines to address any deficiencies or passenger complaints,” Mr. Sukul later told reporters. He said progress made by the carriers to correct the deficiencies found in the audit was also reviewed.

Meanwhile, E.K. Bharat Bhushan, who was abruptly removed as the DGCA earlier this week, is being posted as Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser in the Steel Ministry, official sources said.

Mr. Bhushan, a Kerala cadre IAS officer of the 1979 batch, will be swapping positions with S. Machendranathan, who will join the Civil Aviation Ministry in his position as Additional Secretary. Mr. Machendranathan is also from the 1979 batch of the IAS. He belongs to the Tamil Nadu cadre.

On Tuesday, Mr. Sukul, a joint secretary in Civil Aviation, was given additional charge as chief of the DGCA, replacing Mr. Bhushan who reportedly earned the wrath of Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh for taking a tough stand against private carrier Kingfisher Airlines. The government and the private carrier have both denied such charges.

Mr. Bhushan’s extension till December-end had been approved by the Prime-Minister-Manmohan-Singh-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet only a week ago.

The Aviation Ministry has recommended Arun Mishra, now with the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organisation, for appointment as a full-time DGCA chief.

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