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Financial distress not to compromise on air safety: Patel

New Delhi : In the wake of the Mangalore air disaster which claimed 158 lives, government today said it was in the process of framing fresh regulations to ensure that safety is not compromised on account of financial distress of airlines, reports PTI.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has started evaluating the financial health of the scheduled airlines and whether it has an impact on safety, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said in the Rajya Sabha.

In a statement on a calling attention motion on the Mangalore air crash on 22nd May, Mr Patel said the Court of Inquiry headed by Air Marshal (Retd) BN Gokhale, going into the mishap, is expected to submit its report by 31st August.

"The challenge before the DGCA is to manage phenomenal growth of air traffic without compromising on aviation safety," he said.

The DGCA has decided to carry out a special audit of airports identified as critical on a priority basis and review thoroughly the system and facilities at these aerodromes.

Most of the airlines, including the national carrier Air India, are going through financial crisis with mounting debts and losses.

Recommendations of the audit would be implemented by the Airport Authority of India within a month at 11 airports - Agartala, Calicut, Jammu, Kullu, Latur, Leh, Lengpui, Mangalore, Patna, Port Blair and Shimla, he said.

Mr Patel said the matter would also be taken up with the Defence Ministry with regard to the Defence airports.

The minister said the government is also considering a draft regulation on the concept of Safety Management System recommended by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Moreover, three ICAO technical projects in the area of flight safety, aerodrome standards and navigation services have also been commissioned by the DGCA to enhance its safety oversight capabilities, he said. Mr Patel said a Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council has been set up in the DGCA. It has constituted four different working groups for operations, airworthiness, air navigation and aerodromes.

An Aviation Regulatory Advisory Panel (ARAP) with eight working groups has been established to review existing regulations in airworthiness, flight operations, flight safety, licensing, air transport services and air navigation services, Patel said.

A Surveillance and Enforcement Division has been set up in DGCA for preparation and monitoring of the Annual Surveillance Programme.

He said the DGCA has recently directed the airlines operators to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures for safe landings.

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