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Rediff.com  » Business » India wants fresh US audit for air-safety upgrade

India wants fresh US audit for air-safety upgrade

July 25, 2014 10:31 IST

India wants fresh US audit for air-safety upgrade

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Sharmistha Mukherjee in New Delhi

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked the US’s Federal Aviation Administration for a fresh audit by end-August of the safety oversight mechanism.

Sources in DGCA said the letter was sent this week.

FAA, in audits in September and December, had expressed concerns over a lack of full-time flight operations inspectors in DGCA and downgraded India to Category-II in safety rankings, clubbing it with Zimbabwe and Indonesia.

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Image: Sources in DGCA said the letter was sent this week.
Photographs: Reuters

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An official said, “The Wicks Group in its interim report has said we can seek a fresh audit from the FAA if we have 20 FOIs.

“We have the numbers but would like to have 35 to 40 FOIs before we meet the FAA. “We have written to the FAA for a meeting for a presentation next month.”

TWG has been hired to work with DGCA for a year under a bilateral assistance programme funded by the United States Trade and Development Agency.

TWG has former FAA officials and had helped Azerbaijan, Cape Verde, Trinidad and Tobago, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine to upgrade their air safety rankings.

DGCA has started a second round of interviews to hire more pilots.

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Image: DGCA has started a second round of interviews to hire more pilots.
Photographs: Reuters

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The regulator interviewed pilots for senior FOIs and FOIs on Tuesday and has more interviews on Friday.

On Monday, it is to interview pilots for chief and deputy FOIs.

The official said, “The FAA has not indicated how many FOIs we need to have.

“The norm is to have one for every 10 aircraft. We want to have 35-40 FOIs, so we can do safety inspections on scheduled and non-scheduled general aviation aircraft and helicopters.” 

Hiring of full-time FOIs and their training are crucial for India to regain the Category-I status in FAA safety rankings.

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Image: An Air India aircraft.
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: FAA , India , US

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The FAA downgrade has barred Indian airlines expanding operations in the US and hit code-sharing pacts with American counterparts.

Code-sharing is an agreement between two or more airlines to list certain flights in a reservation system under each other’s names.

Earlier, DGCA did not have regular FOIs.

Pilots and commanders were taken from scheduled airlines for these functions.

The commanders and pilots were paid by the respective airlines and not by DGCA.

There were possibilities of conflict of interest, noted the FAA.

DGCA had not been able to hire full-time FOIs due to its inability to pay them market-linked salaries.

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Image: A Malaysian Airlines aircraft.
Photographs: Reuters

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To address concerns raised by FAA, the government sanctioned the creation of 75 posts in DGCA, to recruit pilots at market-determined salaries.

In the first round this March, the regulator, which has six full-time FOIs, could hire 29 pilots.

Of those hired, 14 have joined.

“We are trying to address their (pilots’) concerns.

“The FOIs would be on our payroll for three years.

“We have written to the airlines to ensure their seniority and promotions do not get affected during deputation,” an official said.


Image: To address concerns raised by FAA, the government sanctioned the creation of 75 posts in DGCA, to recruit pilots at market-determined salaries.
Photographs: Courtesy, Airbus
Tags: DGCA , FAA , India , US

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