Air Safety Ranking Of India :
Air Safety Ranking
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently said it won’t take decision in a hurry to upgrade the Air Safety Ranking of India.A stand that will disappoint the Indian government, which was expecting a quick resolution of the crisis, and could affect the plans of both existing and new Indian airlines.
During the last FAA Audit, it downgraded India’s safety ranking in January to Category II due lack of Flight Inspectors. Due this reason Air India Ltd and Jet Airways (India) Ltd were not able to expand to US cities or collaborating with US airlines.
FAA will be visiting India between 8 and 12 December & a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said a decision on a possible upgrade would be taken by January. “We will have the results by January,” a DGCA official. “We are very well prepared.” FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette struck a more cautious note and said the reversal of the downgrade could take much more time. “The Federal Aviation Administration will begin a reassessment of India’s civil aviation authority in December, which may take several months, ” Duquette said in an email from Washington.
DGCA was called upon by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to make a presentation to a safety board in Europe. “That has, however, been cancelled as we have impressed upon the improvements that we have brought in,” the DGCA official said, requesting anonymity. “We sent a team to EASA recently, which has made a detailed presentation to them.
They are satisfied.” EASA and FAA work closely together, the official said, and hinted that FAA would communicate its findings on the work done by DGCA to the European safety agency. That means the FAA audit, if it doesn’t go well, could cause EASA to consider auditing any of the Indian airlines that fly into European airspace and blacklisting them if found not up to the mark in terms of air safety. “The FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency share the common goal of ensuring the highest aviation standards,” Duquette said. Ilias Maragakis, spokesperson for EASA, did not respond to an email seeking comment sent last week. While downgrading India, FAA had cited a lack of trained DGCA officials, the absence of documented procedures for inducting new types of aircraft, and a shortage of flight inspectors to monitor India’s growing number of airlines. Consulting firm Wicks Group Pllc, which employs retired FAA officials, is helping DGCA in streamlining its process even as it keeps FAA informed of the progress. One of the changes has been the creation of a new flights standards directorate within DGCA as required by FAA.
A second DGCA official, who also asked not to be identified, seemed to think this has only complicated matters by creating “another power centre”. This person said that the new directorate is behind the delay in granting Vistara’s licence. Vistara, the airline of Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd, and AirAsia India were both expecting to be able to fly to the US once the government relaxes the current requirement that only airlines with five years of domestic track record and at least 20 aircraft would be allowed to fly overseas routes.
Aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said on 10 November, while announcing a draft civil aviation policy, that he believes the rule doesn’t make sense and should go. Vistara said it hoped the audit is cleared soon. “We are hopeful that India will soon restore its Category I status,” a Vistara spokesperson said in an email. AirAsia India declined to comment. An air safety expert said DGCA has made superficial changes. “One of the main concerns of FAA was the flight standards directorate and its ability to carry out genuine surveillance audits.
Replacing seconded flight operations inspectors with superannuated ones, who underwent a training that normally takes a year in less than a month, is not likely to convince anyone that DGCA is genuine in its efforts,” said Mohan Ranganathan, an air safety analyst and former member of the government-appointed Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council.
Air India has about 21 weekly flights between India and the US, and Jet Airways seven, while other Indian airlines fly mostly to South-East and West Asia. “We are hopeful we will get back,” aviation minister Raju said. The draft aviation policy does not mention ways to strengthen DGCA and its workforce, the key reason India was downgraded and clubbed with Ghana, Indonesia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.