Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fake Pilot After 6500 flights, it turns out he's not a Certified Pilot

As an Air India pilot, Captain JK Verma has been on 6,500 flights. You can drop the "captain". Mr. Verma's been arrested for faking it.

After 6500 flights, it turns out he's not a pilot

New Delhi:  As an Air India pilot, Captain JK Verma has been on 6,500 flights. You can drop the "captain". Mr. Verma's been arrested for faking it. 

2 years ago, Mr. Verma bought his license for 12 lakhs. That involved forging mark-sheets with the help of a middleman. The fake documents allowed Mr. Verma to get a license from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the watchdog for the aviation sector.

To qualify as a commercial pilot in India, pilots need to show 1500 hours of flight training; they also have to pass three papers which test their knowledge of navigation, atmosphere and instruments used.

Last week, the police arrested another pilot named Parminder Kaur Gulati, who had been suspended by private carrier Indigo 2 months ago. Like Mr. Verma, she had used a broker to fake her mark-sheets.

Two other pilots who cheated to get their licenses are missing.

The police became aware of the imposter  pilot when the DGCA filed a complaint with them.

The police inquiry will try to nail any DGCA officials who may have been a part of the racket.

Because Mr. Verma and Captain Ms. Gulati outwitted the system during the same period in 2009-10, another 4000 licenses issued during this time are being reviewed by the DGCA.

The Aviation Ministry says that it's working on new systems that will involve greater verification of marks scored by applicants.

In the meantime, if your flight is bumpy, you're forgiven for thinking the turbulence may not be because of bad weather.

So many Pilots from other Airlines are too under scanner now.

2. Mangalore air crash case goes to The Hague

Nearly a year after the Dubai-Mangalore Air India Express IX 812 crash in Bajpe that killed 159 passengers, the families of victims have decided to approach the international court for getting ‘the right compensation’ from Air India.

The families of the victims have jointly hired a Swedish advocate Stephen Ericson, a well-known authority in aviation accident compensation issues.

The president of the Air India Crash Victims’ Families Association Mohammad Beary said the compensation arbitrated by Mulla and Mulla company of Mumbai was not more than Rs50 lakh whereas the international norms recommends it closer to Rs1 crore. The compensation has to be paid in accordance with the Montreal Convention to which India was a signatory.

Every person who died in an air crash on an international flight was entitled to get a final compensation of $1,76,000 in the currency of the country where the air craft had crashed and at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the disbursement of the compensation.

The vice-president of the association Narayanan said a few families have already approached the Kerala high court, making the Air India fully responsible, as a court of enquiry has already cited that pilot error has caused the crash at Bajpe.

3. I-League: Jeje smashes four past Air India

KOLHAPUR: When Okorgor Praise Nanna opened the scoring for Air India in the fifth minute in the 19th round clash of the I-League at Kolhapur, little would he have anticipated what would hit them.

Indian Arrows' Jeje then got picture and hit four goals. Manandeep Singh gave Arrows the equalizer in the 7th minute but then Jeje scored two in four minutes as Arrows held a healthy 3-1 lead by the 15th minute.

His other two goals came in the second half before Okorgor reduced the margin of Arrows' victory in added-on time.

Churchill win

Boima scored in the 76 th minute as Churchill Brothers maintained the pressure on leaders Salgaocar with a comfortable win over Viva Kerala. Churchill have 23 points, five points behind Salgaocar who have played two matches less.

Last-gasp winner for Pune

Keita scored in the final moments of the game as Pune FC kept their thrust for thetitle going with a 1-0 over ONGC at Balewadi, Pune. Pune FC move to 22 points from 18 games. Pune, who finished third in their debut season, have not come up with the kind of results they would be hoping.

Prakash spoils Chirag party.

RC Prakash dashed Chirag United's party with a last-minute equalizer, which gave the Aircraftsmen one crucial point to keep alive their hopes of remaining in the I-League.

In fact, Chirag paid the penalty for their complacency as they clung onto a solitary goal lead - Joshimar's 74th minute strike - till the end. However, Prakash was brought down by Sukhen Dey in the 90th minute that awarded HAL a penalty. Prakash made no mistake in sealing a draw from the spot.

4. 'Air India's possible entry into Star Alliance will boost rev'

India's national carrier Air India's expected entry into the elite Star Alliance later this year will expand its global footprint and boost its revenues, according to the airline's Frankfurt-based Regional Manager for Central Europe Ratan Bali. The last major hurdle for Star Alliance membership was

removed when Air India and the Indian Airlines completed the integration of their codes and began using a common code two weeks ago, Bali told PTI at the travel trade show ITB Berlin.
The world's biggest fair, which kicked off on March 9, concludes on Sunday.

A common code for both the airlines was a condition for Air India to join the alliance, he added.

The airline also started using a new reservation system in preparation of joining the alliance.

Star Alliance network is a global leading airline network, in terms of daily flights, destinations and countries flown to and member airlines.

It was established in 1997 to offer customers worldwide reach and a smooth travel experience. In order to become a member, an airline must comply with the highest industry standards of customer service, security and technical infrastructure.

Bali said the planned delivery of the first batch of Boeing 787 'Dreamliner' aircraft to Air India later this year will also play a crucial role in expanding the airline's international operations.

These aircrafts, which have an eight-hour flight range, could be deployed in the Indo-European or Indo-far East sectors, he added.

Air India has placed orders for 27 'Dreamliners' and Boeing had recently announced that the first batch of aircraft will be delivered by the end of this year.

Talking about revenue, he said Air India has recouped its revenue losses from the closure of the European Hub at the Frankfurt airport last year, by increasing the passenger volume and reducing its operational costs in Frankfurt.

As part of its operational restructuring process, the airline rerouted four flights operating from Delhi to Chicago and from Mumbai to New York via Frankfurt airport as direct flights on the India-US routes.

It closed down its European hub in Frankfurt at the end of last year. Since then, the airline has been operating a daily non-stop flight between Delhi and Frankfurt. According to Bali, the loss of revenue for Air India due to the diversion of the four flights was "minimal" and was offset by a 70 per cent reduction in the operational costs in Frankfurt.

Air India lost some passengers after it took out four flights from the commercially important India-Germany route. But the loss of revenue was recovered by a higher utilisation of the seat capacity in the economy class and by increasing the number of first and executive class passengers on board the Boeing 777 200LR aircraft.

"The seat factor on these flights rose to 74 per cent," he said.

The diversion of the flights had very little impact on Air India's transatlantic traffic because the airline was already facing stiff competition from other major airlines on these routes.

Air India's passengers bound for the US or other destinations, however, could continue their journey from Frankfurt on board Lufthansa flights because of a code-sharing arrangement between the two airlines.

On expansion Bali said Air India plans to launch new flights connecting Frankfurt-Delhi service with Melbourne and Colombo.






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Sunday, March 13, 2011

An AIR India pilot has been arrested for allegedly using forged marksheets to procure a commercial flying licence from the country’s airline regulator, the police said on Sunday.

An AIR India pilot has been arrested for allegedly using forged marksheets to procure a commercial flying licence from the country’s airline regulator, the police said on Sunday.

The arrest, second in the past one week, comes following the scrutiny of the licences of as many as 3000 to 4000 pilots by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The accused has been identified as Captain J K Verma, a resident of north Delhi. He is in his forties and was apprehended late on Saturday night following police investigations into a complaint filed by the DGCA.

DGCA, in its complaint, had told the police that they doubted the veracity of documents provided by several pilots. Verma was found to have forged marksheets of the Pilot License Examination (PLE) which is essential for obtaining a commercial flying licence, a senior police officer said.

NEW DELHI: Less than a week after a woman pilot of a private airline was arrested for procuring pilot licence through forged documents, a co-pilot of Air India was arrested by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police on Saturday on similar charges. Two more such cases are under scrutiny, the police said.

“Air India co-pilot Captain J. K. Verma, who is in his 40s, was arrested following a complaint by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that he had produced a forged result card to procure the pilot licence. He is a resident of Pune,” said DCP (CB) Ashok Chand.

Mr. Chand said two more such cases were under investigation.

“We are looking into similar complaints against Meenakshi Sehgal and Swarn Singh of Indigo and MDLR airlines respectively. Meenakshi is a resident of Lawrence Road in Delhi and Swarn belongs to Jaipur. The two are absconding,” he said.

The Crime Branch had arrested Captain Parminder Kaur Gulati (38) on Tuesday on similar charges. The fraud came to light when an enquiry by the DGCA into an incident of “hard landing” of an Indigo airline flight revealed that Captain Gulati had submitted forged documents to obtain the Airlines Transport Pilot Licence. The matter was reported to the police for investigation.
Capt Gulati had failed in the air navigation paper and did not take the radio aids and instruments paper, but submitted a forged result card to DGCA on November 11, 2009, and obtained the licence.

In the wake of the fake pilot scare, licences of 3,000 to 4,000 pilots are being scrutinised by the DGCA, according to Civil Aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi.

The police said they had zeroed in on two more pilots, identified as Meenakshi Sehgal with Indigo Airlines and Swaran Singh Talwar of MDLR, for using documents. The two are reportedly on the run.

On March 8, the Crime Branch arrested Parminder Kaur Gulati, 38, a suspended pilot with Indigo Airlines, for allegedly obtaining the mandatory Airlines Transport Pilot License (ALTP) using forged documents. DGCA had ordered an inquiry after an incident of hard landing by Gulati at Goa.

Neha Jain

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