An inspection team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has found lapses in the internal safety audits of Air India, according to officials.
An Air India spokesperson said that all airlines are subject to regular safety audits by regulators and other bodies.
"Air India actively engages in such audits to continually assess and strengthen our processes," the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Air India directly addresses any matters raised with the authority concerned.
According to the inspection report submitted to the DGCA, the airline was supposed to conduct regular safety spot checks in various areas of operations such as cabin surveillance, cargo, ramp and load, however, during a random inspection of 13 safety points, the two-member team found that the airline allegedly prepared false reports in all 13 cases.
"Moreover, when cross-verified with CCTV, recordings, auditee statements, shift register documents, GD (General Declaration) list, passenger manifest etc, it is understood that all the aforesaid 13 spot checks shown to be carried out in stations Mumbai, Goa and Delhi were verified and were established to have not been actually performed," the two-member team said in the 'Deficiency Reporting Form' (DRF).
The inspection found that these reports "were subsequently prepared/falsified when demanded by the DGCA team".
The report further noted that these alleged forged spot-check reports were not signed by the Chief of Flight Safety (CFS) who has the authority to do it.
The team visited Air India's office in Gurugram in Haryana on July 25 and 26, and after inspection, they mentioned the lapses in the DRF.
DGCA Director General Vikram Dev Dutt said the matter is being investigated by the regulator.
According to the inspection report, the checklists were physically signed by an auditor from the Quality Management System (QMS) Department which does not fall under the approval and inspection scope of the DGCA and has different eligibility criteria/qualification industry standards.
The inspection report said the team did not find any written communication for the delegation of authority to the auditor.
"Also other than verbal confirmation by CFS, there were no email correspondences and authorisation by the CFS for the aforementioned sport checks," it said.
As per the inspection report, regarding the Pre-Flight Medical Examination (alcohol consumption test of pilots), Air India claimed that it carried out the spot check but the team found that the airline's internal auditor "had not physically visited the facility which is mandatory to satisfy many items of the checklist".
"Also, the equipment details and test readings have not been noted on the checklist. Merely, all the points have been marked as satisfactory without actually performing the spot check," it said.
(With PTI inputs)