A key parliamentary committee has rapped the Ministry of Civil Aviation over the Airports Authority of India (AAI) lagging behind global standards in two critical elements of aviation safety and security measures, according to a report by The Tribune India.
“Out of eight critical elements, AAI is lagging behind ineffective implementation in two critical elements—organisation and licensing, which is 61.54% and 25.26%, respectively, against the world average score of 70.8%,” the Committee on Public Undertakings has stated in its report on AAI tabled in Parliament.
The other six critical elements, as mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), are legislation, operations, airworthiness, accident investigation, air navigation services and aerodromes. ICAO requires its member states to establish and implement an effective state oversight system for aviation safety and security by taking into account the eight elements.
The Committee observed that while AAI’s overall effective implementation score of 70.8% was a notch above the world average of 69.76%, it trailed by a wide margin in the organisation and licensing where the world average was 71.14% and 73.55%, respectively.
The Committee had earlier expressed concern that India, which is one of the major civil aviation markets after the US and China, was lagging far behind in the effective implementation of the two critical elements.
Pointing out that AAI had not been able to keep pace with global standards, the Committee had expressed apprehensions that it may deter foreign investments in the civil aviation sector and thereby adversely affect the sector’s expected growth.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation had stated before the Committee that licensing covered pilots, flight engineers, ground personnel, air traffic controllers and aerodromes.
All AAI airports used for international operations and all AAI domestic airports operating scheduled air transport services are licensed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and hence effective implementation in licensing on part of AAI was 100%. Poor percentage of effective implementation in this area may be attributed to other licensing areas, the ministry said.
The Committee however pointed out that the ministry had only elaborated the reasons for poor performance only in respect of licensing and was conspicuously silent on the other critical element of the organisation. Even while talking about licensing, the ministry only referred to aerodromes and left out other components such as personnel.
While seeking elaborate reasons for poor performance in the two critical elements, the committee stressed that the central government should take suitable steps not only to reach world averages but also to be on par with the best in the world.
(With Inputs from The Tribune India)