KOCHI: Despite a green light by the Central government to conduct classroom training for airline and airport staff on safe carriage of dangerous goods and radioactive materials on aircraft, the police have denied permission to Kochi-based Speedwings to hold the classes citing that the state government has prohibited such training. In a circular issued on August 11, DGCA, the civil aviation regulator, allowed re-opening of Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) training classes from August 17.
G Poonguzhali, deputy commissioner of police, Ernakulam, however, rejected a request for permission to reopen classes saying “classroom training is not permitted by the government.”Speedwings is among the seven institutes in the country and the only one from Kerala which has the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and DGCA accreditation to conduct training and certify all categories of persons in the airline industry who handle dangerous goods and radioactive materials, including pilots and cabin crew.
Training in dangerous goods regulations will help staff in passenger check-in, baggage and cargo handling, ramp & load control, screening and security, pilots and cabin crew, including chemical manufacturers, shippers, cargo forwarding agents, packers, courier and postal mail operators to equip to meet the fresh challenges corresponding to their job roles. Speedwings, in its request to reopen the classroom, said only 10 candidates will be allowed at a time. Classes will also be regulated as per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines, Arogya Sethu and other Covid-19 protocols.
“Government allowed classes with 60 per cent attendance. We have brought it down to 50 per cent. We approached District Collector S Suhas and Hibi Eden, MP. Both said we can start the classes. But we won’t be able to start the classes without any written approval as we may land in trouble later,” Biji Eapen, chairman & CEO of Speedwings, said.
DGR manual is the global reference for the safe carriage of dangerous goods and radioactive materials on an aircraft. The aircraft regulations (The Aircraft Rules 1937, under Civil Aviation Requirements, Section 11, and Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods) stipulate only classroom training and mandates that all personnel involved in airline and ground handling services must be trained and certified in DGR and have to renew it within every 24 months according to their job roles and functions, said Eapen.
When contacted, Poonguzhali justified her decision saying the number of Covid-19 cases is going up. “At present, educational institutions have permission to conduct examinations. The state government is yet to decide on opening schools, colleges and other educational institutions. If we allow an institution to conduct classroom training, several others will also start the same. The result will be disastrous,” she said.