DGCA re-audits Kingfisher, dilutes serious violations
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A financial audit of Kingfisher Airlines conducted late last year by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had found that Vijay Mallya's crisis-hit carrier cancelled more flights than it had reported to the regulator, scrapped flights to the Northeast without approval, withheld information about grounded aircraft when schedules were approved, and did not even list more than 100 approved flights on its systems.
The alleged violations could have led to the airline losing its flying permit. But in an unusual move, a second audit was conducted a month later by a new team and many findings of the previous audit were discarded or diluted. The Indian Express has accessed both audit reports.
The DGCA, however, denies Kingfisher was audited twice. "A financial surveillance of all airlines was conducted from November to December and no re-audit was carried out in the case of Kingfisher," said Lalit Gupta, a DGCA deputy director general responsible for financial surveillance and scheduling.
Arun Mishra, who took over as DGCA chief recently, said he was not aware of the issue and would need to check on it.
DGCA officials said the practice of conducting annual financial audits began in 2010-11. According to the first audit, conducted in November by a Mumbai-based team of the DGCA, Kingfisher had under-reported its flight cancellations during August, September and October 2011. While the airline told the DGCA that 140, 282 and 256 flights were cancelled respectively in these three months, the audit of Kingfisher's computer network found 308, 326 and 344 flights cancelled respectively.
The airline had been allowed to operate 418 daily flights during the winter schedule which started on October 30, 2011, but Kingfisher had not even listed 106 of these flights on its computer network. This, one senior DGCA official alleged, could amount to squatting as some airline operators are known to indulge in such practices to prevent competitors from getting their unused slots.
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