NEW DELHI: Ahead of assembly polls in Karnataka, Aviation regulator DGCA came out with a set of safety regulations for air charter operators.
The regulations have warned the charter operators and their pilots of penal action if these guidelines were not adhered to while flying a VIP or SPG protectees for poll campaigns.
The set of guidelines also directs the operators and flight crew to ensure that no unauthorised cash, narcotics or arms are carried in the flight. It also includes submission of passenger manifests to the aviation regulator.
The DGCA has referred to some earlier incidents saying that analysis of earlier such incidents associated with small aircraft or helicopter operations from airstrips or temporary helipads and past experience of election flying by the operators has revealed that laid down instructions were violated time and again and safety was jeopardised.
"Though number of guidelines and circulars have been issued in the past for ensuring safety of air operations by small aircraft and helicopters, the instructions are thus reiterated so that the same are followed meticulously for ensuring safe operation of small aircraft/helicopters," it said.
Politicians and senior ministers use private aircrafts while campaigning during state polls. According to an industry estimate, the bookings of charter planes go up by up to 40 per cent during the election time compared to a normal business day.
The DGCA has asked the flight crew to google helipad coordinates as an additional measure to check their correctness, suitability and other flying aspects like obstacles (for instance, tall trees and high tension wires) and landing and take-off directions, among others.
The latest circular, which supersedes the earlier one, also lays down penalty for non-compliance of guidelines which include suspension of operations, flying licence as well as the pilot’s licence.