NEW DELHI: India’s aviation safety oversight will not be downgraded and continue to retain its top billing. The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which recently conducted an audit of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on Tuesday said that India will remain in Category 1-status of safety.
The thumbs up from the FAA means that Indian carriers will not face hurdles while expanding flights to the US.
Air India, the only Indian carrier that flies to America, will not face stringent checks on its aircraft when they land there and the Maharaja will be able to add frequencies on existing routes as well as have new destinations there on its network.
A senior DGCA official said, “FAA conducted an audit of DGGA in July 2018 to confirm India’s adherence to the standards laid down by ICAO (UN’s aviation arm International Civil Aviation Organization) and oversight of Indian airlines. During consultations held with FAA in early November, DGCA presented the actions taken to address the findings of the July 2018 audit. On Tuesday, FAA has formally communicated that India is adhering to the safety standards of ICAO and have confirmed that India’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) rating remains Category 1.”
The FAA had made about 30 observations earlier this July, all of which were satisfactorily addressed by the DGCA. “Their biggest finding in July was that some charter/private plane operators from India fly to US using aircraft for which DGCA does not have flight operations inspectors type-rated on those planes. That issue has been resolved,” said sources.
India, meanwhile, expects its overall aviation safety score given to different countries by ICAO to also improve significantly.
Following an audit last year, the United Nation’s aviation arm had lowered India’s “effective implementation” (EI) from 65.82% to 57.44% against world average of 62% mainly due to the issue of air traffic controllers’ (ATCO) licensing.
An ICAO team again audited the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) from November 12-21 to see if the shortcomings had been addressed to make flying safer here and told the Indian authorities that the country’s EI score could rise to 74%.
The overall EI figure is calculated after taking an aggregate of individual scores in eight fields like legislation, organisation, personnel licensing and airworthiness of aircraft. This score gives an overall picture of how a country is complying with global aviation safety practices under different heads.