Wings Magazine

U.S. downgrades India’s air safety rankings

Jan. 31, 2014, New Delhi, India - In a big setback to India’s aviation sector, the U.S. regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded India’s aviation safety ranking after finding the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)’s oversight to be inadequate.

January 31, 2014  By Live Mint and The Wall Street Journal

India was lowered to so-called category II of safety rankings from category I.

The threat of a downgrade of India’s air safety ranking was imminent, Mint first
reported on 15 November, citing a government official who didn’t want
to be named, referring the audit FAA conducted on DGCA in September
locating 33 areas of concern.

“Yes they have downgraded India to category II,” said director general of civil aviation Prabhat Kumar after an FAA delegation met him at 11:00 a.m. on Friday to communicate the decision.

Aviation minister Ajit Singh and other government have been briefed.

A category II safety rating means the civil aviation
authority does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization
standards and is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical
expertise, trained personnel and record-keeping or inspection
procedures, according to FAA.
Indian airlines won’t be able to increase flights to the U.S. and additional checks will be imposed on existing flights of Air India Ltd and Jet Airways
(India) Ltd because of the downgrade. Indian airlines will also have to
snap ties with US airlines. Jet has a code-share agreement with United Airlines currently while Air India is joining Star Alliance.

A member of the government-mandated safety council,
formed in the aftermath of the Mangalore air crash that killed 158
people in May 2010, said the government had not heeded several letters
sent by council about the risk of a downgrade in India’s safety ranking.

“I am not surprised,” Mohan Ranganathan, the member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, said.

“The deceit of DGCA and aviation ministry has finally
been exposed. Blatant abuse of regulations in safety and flight
standards directorate were swept aside for political and commercial
considerations. The last two years have seen the lowest in integrity
levels. Persons responsible should be held accountable and not let off
lightly for bringing this shame upon India.”


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