Friday, March 15, 2013

Exclusive! Safety and Manpower- would DGCA have fared different?

Neelam Mathews
March 15, 2013
As news broke that India had been put under the ICAO ‘Significant Safety Concerns’ (SSCs) list for lack of adherence to proper licensing practices and airworthiness following ICAOs Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA), (akin to an audit), conducted end-December last year, there was pandemonium.
Today, DGCA Arun Misra confirmed: "ICAO has not made the draft report available to us ....., so there is no question of misleading the Parliament on the issue." He added; "ICAO makes the draft report available after 90 days of audit, "which will be March-end, after which we are given 45 days for comments on the draft report. Then the report is finalized by ICAO."
ICAO, stringent on physical surveillance of safety, will be a tough customer to satisfy. So, what we might be overlooking, is that the DGCA has its hands tied because of lack of manpower. “(The process of recruitment (is complicated)) because it has to follow a (long-winded) centralized recruitment procedure and is constrained by its salary structure that can only be changed once an independent Civil Aviation Authority is formed,” Sanat Kaul, Chairman International Foundation for Aviation, Aerospace & Development and former India Rep , ICAO told AerospaceDiary.
This was confirmed by former DGCA Kanu Gohain who told AerospaceDiary implementation of rules was dependent on manpower. If people are not given to us, whom do I send for training?” He explained the GA sector was in its infancy and had grown (overnight) without procedures and controls. “Again, how can we do the checks on them, without manpower?”
Minister of civil aviation Ajit Singh told Parliament six months ago that 66 of 70 recommendations had been implemented, while “action has been initiated for implementation for shortage of manpower in DGCA, training for technical manpower and framing of regulations for certification of Air Navigation Services.”
“We are the new kid on the block and need support on regulatory work from the FAA… We have a problem with business aviation because regulation becomes difficult when you have small size operators who don’t have safety arrangements…,” said Arun Mishra, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) at a recent workshop on GA. He added it was “difficult to supervise 144 operators” as DGCA was “facing shortage of technical instructors.”
“This black flag is a big blot on India,” said an airline official. But is anybody listening?


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