Civil Aviation Authority to replace DGCA

Civil Aviation Authority to replace DGCA

Civil Aviation Authority to replace DGCA

A bill to replace the DGCA by a new aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), with full operational and financial autonomy is likely to be tabled in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The Union Cabinet, at its meeting today, accorded in- principle approval to the proposal of the Civil Aviation Ministry, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said after the meeting.

The bill to establish the CAA is likely to be brought in the Monsoon Session, he said.
The CAA would replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and administer and regulate civil aviation safety, manage safety oversight over air transport operators, air service navigation operators and operators of other civil aviation facilities.

Interestingly, the proposed CAA, like the DGCA, would also deal with matters relating to financial stress on safety of air operations, as witnessed in connection with the closure of the bankrupt Kingfisher Airlines last year.

Issues relating to consumer protection and environment regulations in civil aviation sector would also be addressed by the CAA, according to the draft legislation.

The proposed authority would have a Chairperson, a Director General and 7-9 members, including five whole-time members. All of them would be appointed by the Centre on the recommendation of a Selection Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

The CAA is being established by the government to meet the standards set by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and in line with aviation regulators in other countries like the US Federal Aviation Administration and UK's CAA, official sources had said earlier.

The estimated cost of establishing the new Authority would be over Rs 110 crore, they said.

Noting that DGCA has limited delegation of financial powers and hence was "incapable of making adequate structural changes" to meet the demands of a dynamic civil aviation sector, the sources said this had necessitated its replacement with CAA.

The CAA would have more administrative and financial powers to deal with the fast-changing aviation scenario.

While passenger and freight traffic as also aircraft movement has grown manifold in the past six years, the sources said the strength of DGCA, which regulates all these activities, has gone up only in "a miniscule manner" primarily due to the cumbersome recruitment process under the UPSC.

With full functional and financial autonomy, the proposed CAA would be able to recruit its own staff, decide on their pay structure and the powers to fix and collect fees for rendering services like safety oversight and surveillance of air navigation services, they said.

As it would be self-financing, the CAA would establish a separate fund, called the Civil Aviation Authority of India Fund, which would be used for all expenses of the authority.
In addition, this fund  would also get budgetary support, the sources said.

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