Aviation regulator mulls more security for private choppers

May 5th, 2009 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Following the attempt recently to sabotage industrialist Anil Ambani’s helicopter in Mumbai, India’s aviation regulator Tuesday said more security was being planned for the fleets of private choppers and aircraft in the country.
With new heliports planned for cities like New Delhi and Mumbai, an enhanced safety environment will be provided to such a fleet that could go a long way in preventing incidents like the near-collision involving President Pratibha Patil’s chopper Feb 9.

“The level of security is not satisfactory in the general aviation sector. We had seven incidents of breach of safety last year and six so far in 2009,” said S.N.A. Zaidi, the director general for civil aviation.

“We need far greater amount of precaution,” Zaidi told reporters here, when asked for his response on the attempted sabotage of Ambani’s chopper and the near-collision at Mumbai airport involving an Air India aircraft and Air Force choppers ferrying Patil.

He said the DGCA was going through the technical aspects of the sabotage case involving Ambani’s chopper.

“We will be compiling a safety data pool, which will have details of the cause of accidents. This information will be disseminated to industry. We expect the industry to address these issues.”

Zaidi said a preliminary investigation report on the attempt to sabotage Ambani’s chopper will be submitted in two weeks, while a detailed final report will be available to the regulator in 10 weeks.

In the case of the incident involving the president’s entourage of choppers, he did not give a time frame, but said: “The investigation is in the final stages.”

Said the chairman and managing director of the state-run chopper service Pawan Hans, R.K Tyagi: “The incident involving the president’s chopper would have been averted if we had heliports,” and added that heliports would be coming up at Rohini in New Delhi and Santa Cruz in Mumbai besides other metros.

“We would be having enhanced security network, more CCTVs and other features once we have exclusive heliports,” said Tyagi.

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