India's wait for FAA rank likely to continue

India’s wait for an upgradation in the US safety ranking is likely to continue at least until March next year when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will announce its decision on the recent audit.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma recently said that the FAA, the American aviation regulator, conducted a fresh safety audit of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) from December 8 and is likely to determine India’s safety rating in March 2015.

Though India is expecting a positive decision, the FAA is not ready to give a commitment.
“The FAA began a reassessment of India’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) this month, which may take several months. It is continuing to work with India’s CAA and does not have an announcement about India’s status at this time,” FAA spokesperson Alison Duquette told Deccan Herald through email.

Sharma informed the Rajya Sabha that the FAA team carried out a “full audit” to ascertain India’s compliance with international aviation safety standards by focussing on “eight critical elements”.

During its audit, the US agency covered activities, including those relating to legislation, regulations, technical personnel, training, licencing, certification and surveillance obligations, which are critical for aviation safety oversight functions. The Civil Aviation Ministry expects that the FAA would provide a written report within about 65 days and hold a consultation meeting in another 30 days.

“Based on the outcome of the final decision, the FAA will make a category determination and inform India by about March 2015,”  Sharma said.

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

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