Lockdowns and reduced flight operations due to the coronavirus pandemic could be the cause behind rising technical malfunctions on airlines in India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation chief Arun Kumar said on Tuesday, reported The Indian Express.

“The reasons for the increasing number of technical snags appear to be Covid-related, which impacted airline operations due to lockdown and curtailed operations etc,” DGCA chief Arun Kumar said. “Also, there is a universal problem of manpower shortage after Covid, not just with one airline or one country.”

More than 460 technical malfunctions were reported by airlines in India in the past year, The Indian Express reported citing data from the civil aviation regulator.

Kumar said that several of the glitches were in fact routine ones and that the flight crew need to be vigilant and must respond to situations as they unfold.

“I must place on record our appreciation for our pilots, who have shown exemplary competence and have negotiated such snags with confidence and have not compromised safety,” he said.

On July 19, the aviation regulator had said that an insufficient number of engineers had been certifying aircraft of various carriers before take-off.

It made the observation after conducting spot checks and asked airlines to tend to all the flaws and shortcomings by July 28.

The aviation regulator also said that maintenance engineers deployed by airlines are incorrectly identifying the cause of a reported defect.

“They [the spot checks] also found that there has been an increasing trend of MEL [minimum equipment list] releases of aircraft,” it added.

The list provides for the operation of aircraft, subject to specified conditions, with some inoperative equipment until the repairs are carried out.