Aviation safety: FAA team to visit India

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New Delhi, Aug 20: A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) team would soon visit India to review the steps taken by DGCA to address the deficiencies in India's aviation safety mechanism, which was downgraded by the US regulator early this year.

"The DGCA has requested the FAA (for a review) and I think the FAA team is coming shortly. So, there will be a review," Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.

"Our people are confident that we will be able to get back our old status (Category-I) of being on par with the best in the world," he said in a wide-ranging interview.

Almost all of the 33 major areas of concern identified by the FAA on aviation safety issues, like the DGCA not having full-time fight inspectors, have been addressed, he said.

It is likely that a decision by the FAA to restore the top Category-I status of India's aviation safety mechanism could come during the US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi next month.

Referring to the problems faced by the DGCA in recruiting professional aviation engineers and technical personnel at market rates, Raju said the Union Cabinet has addressed the issue by giving the regulator "little freedom to go in accordance with the market forces".

With new procedures in place and technical manpower recruited to carry out aviation safety surveillance, the DGCA has sought a review of the FAA's downgrade and sent a letter to the US regulator for a fresh audit of India's safety oversight mechanism.

At their meeting, the DGCA would provide the FAA a status report on the progress made on each of the findings.

The prime reason for the US regulator FAA downgrading India's aviation safety ranking to Category-II was lack of sufficient number of regular flight inspectors which had rendered the DGCA's safety oversight ineffective. On January 31, this year, the FAA had lowered India's safety ranking to Category-II from Category-I which the country has been holding since 1997.


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