Friday, September 24, 2010

IATA Chief Calls For Safety Measures In India

Aviation Week Daily
Sep 23, 2010

By Neelam Mathews

IATA has recommended that its Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) be made mandatory for all Indian carriers.

“The recent Air India Express crash reminded us that safety is a constant challenge. Establishing the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council (CASAC) is an important step forward. I strongly encourage CASAC to recommend IOSA is mandated for all India’s carriers. IOSA has helped IATA’s members achieve a safety record 2.5 times better than the global average. Taking advantage of this global standard will add a new dimension to India’s safety oversight,” Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of IATA, said at an industry meeting in New Delhi.

On Sept. 28 in Montreal, a safety agreement will be signed for the first time between major organizations — IATA, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.S. FAA, and the European Union (EU) — for sharing safety data. A Declaration of Intent was signed in March.

The four organizations are presently working on a way to standardize safety audit information and ensure compliance with local privacy laws and policies. This is targeted to be completed within 12 to 18 months.

Bisignani voiced his concerns over the congested Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, and the need to have an alternate airport by 2016 when passenger numbers could reach 40 million. He also says there is a need for liberalization in foreign direct investment, and needs in security and environmental responsibility. “Democracy cannot be an excuse for bureaucratic logjams,” said Bisignani.

As margins in the aviation industry move from 0.5% to 1.6% this year, they are not enough to cover capital and make investors happy, said Bisignani. He called for a coordinated approach among government ministries, such as Finance and Civil Aviation, which were at loggerheads and holding back growth by imposing numerous taxes on an industry that was recognized as elite, but actually serves all of the public.

Indian carriers posted a combined loss of $1.7 billion in 2009, with a loss of $400 million expected in 2010. “We are concerned about the $13 billion debt,” he added. Although Bisignani told AviationWeek he is “pleased to see major improvement ... demand increased by 11% and capacity by 7% ... this is not the time to celebrate.”

Indian aviation currently has a market of 42 million annual passengers domestically and a further 34 million internationally. “If Indians flew as much as Americans, it would be a market of over 4 billion passengers. With the spending power of Indians set to triple over the next two years, the potential for growth is incredible,” said Bisignani.

The IOSA program is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. Its audit principles are designed to conduct audits in a standardized manner.

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