DGCA hopes to leave behind ignominious rating

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is hoping that the US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will reverse the ignominious downgrading of its category during an inspection next month.

The safety ranking of DGCA was downgraded to Category II, bringing it below Pakistan, by the US agency on January 31 this year following lacunae on several fronts.

An FAA team is visiting India in the first week of December and the DGCA expects a positive announcement after their inspection, sources said.

Sources said the DGCA has complied with almost all the directions of the FAA, including recruiting safety inspectors.

A team of DGCA officials is also visiting Brussels next week to meet officials of EU Air Safety Committee to discuss measures taken by the regulator to overcome the FAA downgrade.

This was the first time that India has been downgraded. The downgrade, however, did not mean that airlines are unsafe but DGCA’s safety oversight is not enough to properly monitor safety performance of Indian carriers.

A Category 2 ranking means either a country lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards or that its regulator is deficient in areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures.

The FAA initiated a review after the ICAO audit in December 2012 identified deficiencies in the Indian regulator and after subsequent reviews, it announced the downgrade this year. It had then pointed out that there was insufficient number of flight operations inspectors and airworthiness officers do not have required training to handle all types of aircraft.

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