Indian Aviation DGCA has an Upgrade category I in Federal Aviation Administration

Indian Aviation DGCA has an Upgrade category I in Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has expedited the process of upgrading India's Aviation sector to category I from II in view of US President Barack Obama's state visit to India as chief guest for this year's Republic Day celebrations.

Federal Aviation Administration, which met the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last week, has said that the US regulator would be working faster to ensure that the Indian aviation sector gets upgraded as early as possible.
"A Federal Aviation Administration representative, based in New Delhi, has indicated to us that the team from Federal Aviation Administration will be visiting India for the final consultations during the middle of February. We should be able to get our Category I status back as soon as consultations get over," said a DGCA official. The earlier plan was to upgrade India by March 2015. The official said, the fact that Federal Aviation Administration wants to start the consultative meeting in February is a good enough an indication that the US regulator is expediting the process. "The dates decided after the audits were tentative. Normally, these tentative deadlines are rarely met due to other considerations of Federal Aviation Administration, but their promptness is an indication that the US President's visit is helping us in getting the category upgrade," the official added.

While Federal Aviation Administration did not comment on other aspects of the story, it did admit that consultations are scheduled during February. "Consultations are tentatively scheduled for the week of February 16. A category determination will not be made until after that consultation visit takes place," Federal Aviation Administration said in an e-mail response.

An upgrade would automatically lift the bar on Indian Airlines starting Flights to the US or getting into a code-share agreement with American Airlines. The downgrade to Category II came in January 2014 after an audit in December 2013 found anomalies in training of DGCA's staff and lack of full-time Flight Operations Inspectors (FOI) on rolls. FOIs were all on deputation from other Airlines. DGCA, then led by D G Prabhat Kumar, completed rectifying anomalies in seven months.

Federal Aviation Administration conducted an audit again in December and raised questions on lesser FOI numbers and a few other processes. It has given a positive report and sent a list of 13 findings."We have informed them that the process to hire FOIs is on and the regulator will be able to complete that in due course. The questions raised on processes followed by us are minor and have been resolved," said a DGCA official.

Susweta Bose  [Masters in Mass Comm ] 
Sub Editor