Thursday, 10 March 2011


If you are considering going to India be very careful who you fly with especially if you intend to fly internally within the country. The rapid airline growth in India has apparently led to a pilot shortage but some have found their own way of solving the problem. 

According to The Times of India this week Captain(sic) Parminder Kaur Gulati was arrested in Delhi after causing damage to an Airbus A320 at Goa while flying an IndiGo Airlines. IndiGo is one of the sub continent's burgeoning companies but passengers onboard one of their company's aircraft would have been shocked to know that the woman pilot at the controls of their aircraft was in fact flying on a fake licence. The rapid 'explosion' in air travel in India could have been for real and it is probably m ore luck than judgement that a major disaster had not occurred. Captain Gulati, aged 38, had flown for the airline as a co-pilot since 2007 but she had failed her examination on air navigation and not turned up to take her paper on radio aids and instruments - vital if you are in charge of any aircraft especially one as sophisticated as an Airbus. Gulati was reported to have landed aircraft badly 10-15 times although this was denied by her employer. But she should have known better than to forge her licence because she is the wife of Indian police officer. She was found to have forged a mark-sheet to show that she had passed her exams when in fact she hadn't. The Director General of Civil Aviation in India who is meant to regulate the industry discovered that Gulati's commercial pilot's licence issued in January 2009 had been based on fake examination results. Her case might just be the tip of the chapatti because the DGCA is believed to be investigating two other similar cases. One of these is said to be another IndiGo pilot who was suspended from flying on Sunday, the second is said to work for MDLR Airlines.

Indigo Airlines carried more than 19 per cent of air travellers on Indian domestic flights and according to reports  has just ordered 180 new Airbus A320s to be delivered between 2016 and 2025. In view of the discovery of faked paperwork, the DGCA has announced that it is to carry out a review of all pilot's licences and supporting documents in an attempt to restore confidence and integrity back into their industry.   
A spokesperson for IndiGo said "Safety is a key concern at IndiGo" but one now doubts if anyone will believe them.

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