the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restored India’s
safety oversight to Category 1 in March following a 14-month downgrade to
Cat-2 under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA)
program, Indian authorities will make presentations this month on their
country’s safety status to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
India looks to expand its economic footprint with fiscal engagement in the Asian
region, air connectivity gains added importance, making it imperative to ensure
and project a satisfactory air safety record. “Every country is concerned about
safety and it cannot be compromised,” Indian minister of civil aviation Ashok
Gajapathi Raju told AIN. “ICAO sets the standards and we
were downgraded by the FAA…Now we’re back with many
Category 2 status signaled that its civil aviation safety oversight regime did
not comply with international safety standards set by ICAO. Though India’s
two airlines serving the U.S.—Jet Airways and Air India—could continue existing
flights there, their Category 2 status meant they could not establish new
service to the country nor code share with U.S. carriers.
downgrade prompted international safety authorities to voice concerns.
Following the downgrade last year, India sent a team to Brussels to EASA,
the head of the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), M.
Sathiyavathy, told AIN. “[EASA has] asked us to explain how we
will be able to sustain our position as Category 1 in the days to come,”
the FAA focused on safety elements such as airline operations, flight
training organizations and India’s legal system, a comprehensive audit due from ICAO this
coming November “will cover the entire gamut of civil aviation including
airports, navigation, air traffic control along with FAA issues,”
said Sathiyavathy. She stressed that India could sustain its position only “if
we have the cooperation of all aviation-related stakeholders, and that can
happen only if all of us feel safety is important.
have put systems in place including re-certification based on CAP3100, the
new ICAO-recommended certification manual for airlines to ensure safety of
passengers and student pilots is not compromised,” she added.
the main observations in the FAA audit involved the lack of flight
operations inspectors (FOI), Sathiyavathy said. The FAA had objected
to the DGCA deputizing FOIs from airlines rather than using
those on its own rolls. Of the 75 FOIs required, the DGCA has
managed to fill posts for 50. “We are trying to work as soon as we can on more
hirings as this was one of the main issues of the FAA,” said Raju. “If
conflicting interest comes in, it is not correct.”