Starting April 7th 2022, for the next 15 days, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended Air India’s license for carrying dangerous goods after a few lapses were found during a recent audit of at the carrier’s cargo facility.
A routine DGCA audit was carried out for various departments at Delhi. The regulator has some observations regarding our domestic cargo unit at Delhi. The same is being complied with.”Air India official
According to sources at the DGCA, the cargo facility of the carrier was not handling dangerous goods as per the prescribed directives of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – a United Nations agency. In addition to absence of proper storage space for dangerous goods, there were no appropriate facilities to segregate radioactive goods from other dangerous goods. There were also lapses found on account of untrained staff and absence of an emergency management system, ground emergency drill at cargo facility, etc.
Meanwhile, they are expected to put systems in place and which, after being found satisfactory, can lead to restoration (of the licence).”DGCA official
This is not the first time DGCA suspended an airline’s licence to carry dangerous goods. In October 2021, it suspended the licence of a private budget airline for 30 days after a violation of norms for handling dangerous cargo.
According to the ICAO, the air carriers can transport dangerous goods, provided that cartain safety checks are in place. The principles of handling and carrying dangerous cargo have been used in developing ICAO’s technical instructions. These instructions ensure that neither the aircraft not its occupants are at any kind of risk while flying dangerous goods. They ensure that even if an incident occurs, it should not lead to an accident. These international standards have been introduced under the provisions of the Chicago Convention, and are required to be introduced into national legislations. The system ensures government control over transportation of dangerous goods and gives world wide harmonisation of safety standards.