Quick turnaround times keep airline operations smooth and running, and improve overall efficiency. While it’s good for the industry when airlines keep busy, India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, wants to ensure that faster turnarounds are not coming at the cost of safety.
Turnaround time under observation
It has emerged that India’s aviation watchdog, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is keeping an eye on airlines’ turnaround times and procedures.
A report by Mint quotes an official aware of the matter as saying,
“The move is to ensure there was sufficient time for all engineering checks in line with the global norms … the aim is to ensure airlines are not cutting corners and the checks are done as per protocol in a time-bound but disciplined manner.”
The DGCA is observing airline procedures for turnarounds. Photo: Getty Images
The official also mentioned that the DGCA has developed a system that calculates the flight duration of a route and the turnaround procedures at airports. The primary objective of these measures is to ensure that aircraft are checked properly and according to the protocol in between flights and safety is not compromised for the sake of getting the plane back in the air quickly.
A lot happens in between flights
Airplanes make money for their companies only when they’re in the air carrying passengers and cargo. As such, all carriers try their best to keep them flying as much as possible with adequate checks in between.
When an aircraft is on the ground, a methodical process takes place, which ensures that it spends minimum time parked there and is ready for its next flight. There are many essential activities that must be completed while a plane is on the ground. It is cleaned, serviced, inspected, refueled, and resupplied. Different organizations and companies can perform each activity, but they must all complete their tasks within a specified period of time.
A lot happens while preparing an aircraft for its next flight. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simply Flying
The process varies depending on the type of flight (short haul or long haul), but much of the method is the same.
India’s largest airline, IndiGo, recently made news for using three aircraft doors instead of industry-standard two to allow passengers to disembark in an attempt to save more time between flights. The airline’s turnaround time is considered one of the best in the country, and it expects to shave off three to five minutes more with the new method.
For those curious to learn more about what happens when a plane is on the ground, Simple Flying has taken a closer look at the process.
The DGCA has really gotten active in recent months in keeping airlines on their toes. Earlier this year, it announced a two-month special audit of all Indian airlines to check everything, from the availability of trained, experienced, and authorized staff to the maintenance record-keeping of all aircraft.
It also performed checks on more than 250 aircraft across the country after passengers complained about the shoddy conditions of the interiors of several airplanes. Starting October 15th, it has also decided to bring back the alcohol testing requirements for all flight crew, up from the current 50% rule that was introduced to curb COVID.
The regulator is also looking to increase its workforce by more than 400 people to keep up with India’s growing aircraft fleet.
What do you think about DGCA’s latest move? Please comment below.