DGCA is right: An upgraded safety record doesn't mean India can afford to get complacent now

The DGCA also hinted that some pilots found wanting in proficiency checks have been issued notices and that she has begun re-certifying flying training schools and non-scheduled airlines as well.

FP Staff April 24, 2015 12:54:33 IST
DGCA is right: An upgraded safety record doesn't mean India can afford to get complacent now

Aviation regulator M Sathiyavathy is right when she says India should not get complacent with its aviation safety record despite recently getting upgraded by the US regulator FAA.

For one, the upgrade came after much heartburn and close calls, and after India languished with countries like Ghana and Mozambique for a year due to a downgrade.

Second, the upgrade now needs to be maintained, which is obviously harder than actually getting one.

DGCA is right An upgraded safety record doesnt mean India can afford to get complacent now

It's easier to get an upgrade than maintain it

The DGCA also hinted that some pilots found wanting in proficiency checks have been issued notices and that she has begun re-certifying flying training schools and non-scheduled airlines as well.

In short, good marks in the FAA audit do not mean Indian airlines and other stakeholders can afford to ignore or not cooperate with continued surveillance and periodic checks by the DGCA.

Another, and a more comprehensive audit of India's safety preparedness is due by ICAO in November. And FAA will return the very next month to check whether the riders it posed in March have been followed.

The Federal Aviation Administration restored Category I safety status for India's safety oversight mechanism earlier this month but with stiff riders.

Speaking to reporters today, the DG said "I am very happy about getting back category I status from FAA.....most of you feel DGCA interferes too much but our role is such.....oversight is a must for every activity".

Here are some steps the DGCA has already taken:

1) It has completed the re-certification of Jet Airways, Vistara, Air India, Air Costa and Air Pegasus. It is in the process of re-certifying other airlines.
2) After the FAA brought it up as a concern, the DGCA is also currently re-certifying all flying schools and non-scheduled operators. India is re-certifying flying schools after it faced a 'fake pilot' scam in 2011
3) In the wake of the recent Germanwings crash where the co-pilot was found guilty of deliberately crashing the aircraft, DGCA has began evaluating pilot health measures. It has formed a committee to review these parameters. The DGCA did not confirm if psychometric tests would be made mandatory for pilots.
4) It is also conducting a "routine" financial audit of airlines.

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