Aviation regulator DGCA will begin an operational safety audit of all airlines next week. It has already formed teams to do this extensive survey and sent out notices to all airlines to be ready for this audit.
Speaking to Firstpost, the new DGCA Arun Mishra said this would not be a financial audit and would examine each airline’s safety preparedness on certain select parameters.
The last such audit was conducted in November last year by Mishra’s predecessor E K Bharatbhushan and became a major bone of contention between him and the Civil Aviation ministry since he included financial health of airlines also in this audit. Eventually, Bharatbhushan’s stand against Kingfisher’s precarious financial health and its implications led to his sudden removal from the post of DGCA last month.
No wonder then that Mishra was quick to clarify that this time around, the audit will only judge airlines’ safety preparedness.
The DGCA audit also comes just before Indian airlines are scheduled to undergo a rather tough safety audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) this December on eight stringent parameters and Mishra’s initiative could well be a necessary precursor.
The last time ICAO conducted this audit, India had failed rather miserably. Our airlines’ safety practices were found to be below the world average and this prompted the American aviation regulator FAA (Federation Aviation Administration) to downgrade India on safety parameters.
The ICAO audit will assess the DGCA’s preparedness to handle aviation safety as per international norms, including the legislative framework on safety, safety apparatus laws, availability of skilled and fully-qualified personnel, operating guidelines for staff, framework for certification and licensing and how the regulator conducts annual surveillance.
So its good that Mishra is cracking the whip on airlines before ICAO does it on him.