No plans to order closure of any airline: DGCA


New Delhi: The government Thursday said that it is not considering the closure of any airline.

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Dismissing allegations that aviation regulator E.K. Bharat Bhushan was removed at a critical juncture, the acting head of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Prashant Sukul said: “We are not contemplating or have earlier thought about shutting down any airline.”

Sukul was replying to a question whether Bhushan’s removal came after he decided to revoke the scheduled airline status of the troubled Kingfisher Airlines.

“Based upon the satisfactory compliance shown by the scheduled domestic airlines (to financial audit), letters were issued to all scheduled airlines on May 25…the airlines were asked to ensure that the deficiencies were addressed as per the target date,” Sukul said.

The civil aviation ministry maintained that there was no lobbying or interference by any private player in DGCA appointments.

“How can there be lobbying against Bhushan, when (Arun) Misra’s name was proposed in May this year. The decisions are not influenced by the private sector. He (Bhushan) has acted against the ill-practices in the sector in the past and the ministry has supported him,” sources in the ministry told IANS.

According to the sources, the ministry expected that the cabinet’s appointments committee would soon give orders for posting Arun Misra as the DGCA chief within this week and that he will join his new office by July-end.

Misra, at present, is India’s representative in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It is proposed that joint secretary Sukul will replace him in the ICAO.

A controversy erupted Tuesday when the ministry tasked Sukul with an additional role of the director general of civil aviation. The post was held by Bhushan since 2011 and his tenure had ended.

Bhushan had only a week ago received the nod for an extension of six months by the ACC (appointments committee of cabinet), but was shifted out of the DGCA. Bhushan is credited with taking a tough stand against corruption.

He acted against some DGCA employees for getting their kin recruited in the aviation industry, as well as, touts who helped student crack the pilots licence exam illegally.

His exit from the DGCA raised many an eye brow, but ministry sources claimed that due to a procedural lapse a confusion over the new chief of the DGCA was created.

The ministry had sent its recommendation to the ACC for the new chief of the DGCA. But due to a procedural lapse no action was taken on the same. “We expect to have a full-time DGCA chief soon,” sources said.