Indian Flight Safety Under U.S. Scanner

NEW DELHI -- Indian aviation safety regulatory mechanism will be under the US scanner for five days beginning from today. A six-member team from the American Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Singapore and Washington offices will essentially look into three aspects here — licensing of personnel, aircraft maintenance, and compliance of regulations.

Doubts over India's effective regulatory mechanism arose as the DGCA has constantly lost staff, becoming tremendously understaffed now, even as air traffic has grown at a tremendous pace in past few years. After the reassessment, the FAA team will send its report on the shortcomings, which India must rectify in a stipulated timeframe, failing which it could be downgraded from its current category one position. Such a move will prevent Indian carriers from adding new flights to the U.S. unless they take aircraft on wet lease from America, and additionally, Indian planes will be put through sever checks at U.S. airports. During its five-day long reassessment, the FAA team will visit Air India's aircraft maintenance facility in Delhi and also the DGCA's regional office at Palam. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had in 2006 pointed out 31 deficiencies, that essentially frowned at DGCA's shocking lack of staff strength.

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