IndiGo loses training centre license over lapses in its examination system

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The bureau of Civil Aviation Security’s (BCAS) security has suspended the licence of low-cost carrier IndiGo’s aviation security training centre for lapses in its examination system as it was found that the airline was repeating the same set of question papers for several months in a row.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security’s (BCAS) order, issued last week, bars Indigo from conducting security training programmes for its employees. The training centre is run by IndiGo’s parent company InterGlobe Aviation.

Warning that the licence could be suspended indefinitely unless there is complete compliance, BCAS chief Kumar Rajesh Chandra said there was complete breach of trust and that the airline moved from computerbased system to pen and paper mode for the examinations. BCAS has also issued a show cause notice to the centre seeking an explanation.

Without informing BCAS the Indigo training centre had from April 2016 onwards switched from a computer-based system of examination to a pen and paper test. C HANDRA said that after looking at the examination results, BCAS found that for as many as eight batches, all the candidates got over 95 per cent marks. Each batch has around 35-40 people.

As this aroused suspicion BCAS carried out an inspection which found that the centre was repeating the same set of question papers which in effect meant that there was a leak of questions. So, naturally, there was no training actually taking place.

The lapse at the centre is considered a serious issue as it Security watchdog BCAS suspends licence for airline’s training centre comes at a time when security has been stepped up nationwide at all airports in view of the increased threat perception.

At sensitive airports such as Srinagar, a secondary ladderpoint check of passengers is carried by airline security staff and it is essential that they be properly trained for the purpose. A senior official said the casual approach to security also fosters a laid-back mindset on the part of airline staff who are supposed to be alert at all times to ensure passenger and aircraft safety.

This major responsibility is entrusted to the airline security staff on the premise and assurance that they would execute this duty in a responsible manner, sources added. Following the suspension of licence, IndiGo would have to outsource the training programme, which would result in additional cost for the carrier.

Regulations make it mandatory for all scheduled airlines to impart aviation security training to its security staff, cockpit and cabin crew either through their own BCAS-approved facility or any other similar authorised centre. B ESIDES, BCAS conducts such training programmes for airlines and other stakeholders at all its regional offices.

While cockpit and cabin crew are imparted a one week training in various aspects of airline and airport security, for those deployed in other jobs it runs for more than a week. The IndiGo spokesperson said that the airline was already in contact with BCAS and is confident of demonstrating sufficient compliance to the satisfaction of the BCAS. Meanwhile stating that the current discussion with BCAS only pertains to the aviation security training, IndiGo spokesperson also said all other trainings are continuing, as scheduled, and there has been no change in the airline’s operations.

The run-in with BCAS also comes at a time when Indigo has fallen behind arch rival Spicejet in on-time performance. However, Indigo has complained to the DGCA about the methodology of calculating OTP. However, Spicejet has hit back by saying that Indigo had no complaint when it was earlier being rated higher on OTP with the same method in use.