US Air Traffic Control Authority expected to maintain highest safety rating for India

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has completed the inspection of the Indian aviation authority DGCA.

Sources said the FAA team was pleased with India’s work and changes to the regulations and is likely to maintain a Category 1 status rating under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.

A continuation of the highest standard by the FAA will come as a relief to Indian airlines, particularly Tata Group, which intends to increase Air India flights on India-US routes. Its joint venture with Singapore Airlines-Vistara also intends to start its US operations.

In 2014, when the FAA downgraded India’s safety ratings, Indian airlines such as Air India and Jet Airways faced several restrictions, including a ban on expanding flights while their existing flights were subjected to additional checks to allow for processing time extend. The airlines were also not allowed to enter into commercial connections such as code-sharing agreements with US airlines.

“India received no negative remarks. On the contrary, in a number of cases – about 90 percent – they received recognition. The FAA noted and approved the regulatory and manual reforms implemented by the DGCA. In some cases, the FAA determined that work was ongoing and likely to be completed in the coming days,” a senior DGCA official said

A five-person team from the FAA reviewed safety policies, including personnel licensing and airworthiness, during their October visit. The FAA team flagged around 35 issues, mostly related to the documentation procedures followed by the Indian Aviation Authority.

For the past few months, a team from the DGCA has been working on the deficiencies and taking corrective action on the FAA findings.

The examination focuses on areas such as aircraft airworthiness, flight operations and personnel, among others.

The UN aviation organization International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is expected to conduct an audit of India’s aviation security readiness later this year, focusing on aerodromes, air navigation services, certification, aircraft airworthiness, flight operations and airlines, among others.

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