Saturday, December 03, 2022

Strict enforcement, better compliance behind quantum leap in India’s aviation safety ranking: DGCA chief

Strict enforcement along with better compliance is behind the quantum leap in the country’s aviation safety ranking, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar told Moneycontrol.

India’s aviation safety mechanism is now ranked 48th globally, up from an earlier position of 102 in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) global rankings.

“We have crossed a major milestone in our safety rankings,” Kumar said.

DGCA is the regulatory body that primarily deals with aviation safety issues. It is responsible for regulation of air transport services to, from, or within India, and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards. The regulatory body also co-ordinates all regulatory functions with the ICAO.

“Earlier (in 2018), countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh had better safety rankings than us. Now we are placed above the likes of China and Israel,” he added.

“Our focus on enforcement at every level has been validated. We had taken strict action on all safety-related aspects and had implemented a programme to install breathalysers at airports,” said Kumar.

Last month, ICAO, the specialised agency of the United Nations, under its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), had audited certain areas of India’s safety oversight mechanism.

Per the audit results, DGCA had scored 85.49 percent on the EI (effective implementation) count up from 69.95 percent at the last audit in 2018. The ICAO team had audited areas such as personnel licencing, and airworthiness, among others.

The development assumes significance as it will give a boost to India-based airlines’ plans for expansion to foreign destinations.

Kumar said: “Safety oversight is a never-ending process. It is a dynamic environment. India’s fast-growing passenger traffic has a robust safety mechanism which will be further strengthened as new positions have been created in the DGCA.”

At present, India is one of the fastest-growing civil aviation markets in the world. In October, domestic airlines ferried over 1.14 crore passengers, up from 8.98 lakh carried during the corresponding month last year. In recent days, the overall daily domestic passenger count has been hovering around the 4 lakh mark, which is close to pre-COVID levels.

03/12/22 Moneycontrol

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