India hopes to reverse flight safety rating

India hopes to reverse flight safety rating

India’s hope to reverse its downgrade of safety ranking by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) soon after the US agency’s inspection in December may come a cropper.

The FAA is non-committal on upgrading India to Category 1 soon, saying its reassessment may take several months. A team from the FAA will examine the progress made by India between December 8 and 12, ten months after it downgraded India to Category 2, which has ten other countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Curacao.

The downgrade came as India could not achieve satisfactory on two counts – insufficient number of flight operations inspectors and airworthiness officers do not have required training to handle all types of aircraft.

India now says that it has recruited more Safety Inspectors and imparted proper training and expects a positive outcome of the inspection by January. 

However, the FAA is non-committal. “The FAA will begin a reassessment of India’s Civil Aviation Authority in December, which may take several months,” an FAA spokesperson told Deccan Herald in an email from the United States.

Experience of other countries, which faced downgrade, is also not a solace for India, as it took long for countries to get back into Category 1.

The Philippines is waiting for about six years to re-enter Category 1 while the wait of Indonesia is around seven years. Israel took four years to reverse the downgrade and re-enter Category 1.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) officials believe that a positive sign from the FAA would help India deal with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Officials claim they have impressed the EASA on the initiatives taken by the DGCA to improve the situation.

“The FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency share the common goal of ensuring the highest aviation standards,” the FAA spokesperson said.

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