Saturday, November 18, 2017

India’s aviation safety audit: ICAO satisfied with regulatory mechanism

New Delhi: The five-member team of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that was conducting an audit of the Indian aviation sector between November 6 and November 16 as part of its universal safety oversight audit programme has found the regulatory mechanism here “satisfied” according to its preliminary feedback, the government said in a statement on Friday. An e-mail query sent to ICAO did not elicit any response at the time of going to press.
The team, which apprised areas such as legislation, personnel licensing, airworthiness, operations, organisation, visiting Chennai, Mumbai and the Civil Aviation Training College in Allahabad to inspect implementation of safety procedures laid down by ICAO and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
“As per preliminary feedback, the audit team was satisfied with the safety system put in place by the safety regulator,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said. The audit involved verification of responses by the sector regulator to ICAO’s detailed questionnaire with over 600 questions about the systems put in place. Earlier this month, The Indian Express reported that the ICAO was expected to review the functioning of operators including GoAir, Air India Charters, Kestrel Aviation, among others.
To ensure that global aviation safety measures are complied with, the ICAO regularly carries out the universal safety oversight audit of its member states. The ICAO’s first audit mission to India was in 2012, while the last one was in 2015. According to the government statement, the audit team presents its report to the headquarter team and draft report is made available to the authorities in about 90 days, who will then be required to provide its comment and draw its action plan on various aspects of the report and make it available to ICAO within 45 days. Post that, the finalised report will be made available to the members states.
After an audit in 2012, the ICAO had placed India in its list of 13 worst-performing nations. Subsequently, a similar exercise carried out in 2014 by the US regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded India’s aviation safety ranking, bringing it below Pakistan and on par with countries such as Ghana, Barbados and Bangladesh. As a result, Indian airlines were not allowed to add new routes to the US or sign commercial agreements with US airlines during this period. The rating was restored to the top category in 2015, when India reportedly scored better than the global average in airworthiness, air navigation services, operations and licensing.
18/11/17 Indian Express