The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has aced the audit by the US-based Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) by achieving about 90% of the total compliances, sources said. Sources in DGCA say that the FAA Audit went off extremely well.
“In a record of sorts, India did not get any adverse observations. On the contrary, in several cases- about 90%, they got appreciation. FAA noted the regulatory and manual reforms carried out by DGCA and endorsed them. In a few cases, they noted that it was working in progress and was likely to be completed in days ahead,” said a senior DGCA source, who did not want to be identified.
“Overall all positive and no negative words or views were expressed in their assessment. This was the best, India has ever performed in an FAA audit to date,” the source added.
The DGCA official said, “The FAA noted the regulatory and manual reforms carried out by DGCA and endorsed. In a few cases, they noted that it was a work in progress and was likely to be completed in days ahead. Overall, everything was positive and no negative views were expressed in their assessment.
Successful completion of the FAA audit would mean Indian carriers would not face any issues in launching flights to the US. This also ensures that other aviation regulators do not raise any concern over India’s regulatory standing, thus, making it easier for Indian carriers to expand globally.
The FAA team conducted an audit for seven days. This audit follows a five-member team audit by the FAA in October 2021 that had looked into safety guidelines, including the licensing of personnel and airworthiness, during their audit.
This is not the first time FAA had audited India’s DGCA. The US agency had downgraded India to Category II in safety oversight capability in January 2014 over two key concerns: lack of training of officials and the absence of full-time flight operations inspectors on the DGCA’s rolls.
A category II status meant Indian airlines will have to go through stringent scrutiny for being able to operate flights to the US.
The FAA routinely performs such audits, the last of which was in October 2021 following a delay due to the COVID pandemic. This month’s audit was a follow-up on last year’s when a five-member FAA team checked the safety guidelines, including the licensing of personnel and airworthiness.
The UN aviation body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is also expected to conduct an audit of India’s air safety readiness in 2022 and will focus on aerodromes, air navigation services, certification, aircraft airworthiness, and flight operations, airlines, among others.