Air India (AI, Delhi International) can resume using its flight simulators to train and certify pilots after India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conditionally re-approved the carrier's training organisation (ATO) licence on September 7. This followed the DGCA suspending the airline's training licence after identifying some issues during a spot check.

The Business Standard newspaper reports that the conditional re-approval is valid for 30 days and allows Air India to resume pilots' licence renewals and certifications. The airline has an Airbus simulator at Hyderabad International, which it uses to train and certify pilots to fly its fleet of Airbus narrowbodies. A second similar at Mumbai International is used to train and certify pilots flying the airline's fleet of Boeing widebodies.

According to the newspaper, during a spot check, the DGCA inspectors discovered that the simulator’s quality manual had expired, and there was no assigned quality control officer to oversee operations. There were also problems with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for preventive maintenance checks of the simulators.

Following Air India submitting newly developed SOPs for preventive maintenance checks and an updated quality manual for the simulators to the DGCA, the regulator conditionally reinstated the airline's training licence. "A conditional approval has been granted for a 30-day period following the rectification of these deficiencies. An internal audit will be conducted within this time frame, and the findings will be shared with DGCA," said a DGCA spokesperson.

Air India employs approximately 2,400 pilots. In April, it began an advertising campaign to bolster its then-pilot pool by 1,000 more. Each pilot must undergo compulsory licence renewals every six months using a simulator. In addition, the simulators are used to complete annual certification courses, instrument rating certification, ground training refresher, and aviation security training.

In late July, Air India also reportedly failed an internal safety audit after DGCA inspectors conducted a routine inspection of Air India's operations.