The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated the process of recertifying all airlines in the country to ensure full compliance with international norms.
While the regulator recertified the two airlines Air India and Jet Airways operating to the US, ahead of an audit by USA’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in December last year, recertification process has now started for IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia.
A senior official with the DGCA said, “Vistara and Air Pegasus have received their Air Operator’s Permit (AOP) as per the new guidelines laid down in CAP 3100 certification process. All other airlines will now have to go through the recertification process. It will ensure that the airlines have all the documents in place according to current global standards.” He clarified this process will not hamper the operations of these airlines.
The official said that the airlines will have to submit all manuals required and have to conduct validation flights to prove that they have all systems in place. The recertification or issue of fresh AOPs, under the new CAP 3100 norms that came into effect only in 2012, will be completed in the next three to four months.
The recertification process has been initiated at a time when FAA restored Category 1 status to India’s aviation safety oversight mechanism, fourteen months after it had downgraded the DGCA. The FAA had downgraded India to category II status in January last year on two key concerns — lack of training of its officials and lack of full-time Flight Operations Inspectors (FOIs) on DGCA’s rolls.
The downgrade meant that no Indian airline could launch any extra flights to the US and the existing flights to America could be subjected to more checks. While the downgrade did not mean that Indian airlines were unsafe, it showed that the DGCA was not adequately equipped to properly monitor the safety performance of Indian carriers. The downgrade had additionally barred Indian airlines from code-sharing with their American counterparts.
However, analysts say that the Centre needs to continuously work to ensure better functioning of DGCA. “DGCA needs continuous improvement in its systems, processes, manpower, training and transparency. Its financial and operational independence has to be enhanced. The industry hopes that the Category 1 upgrade should lead to further reforms. And soon,” said Amber Dubey, partner and India head of aerospace and defence at global consultancy KPMG.
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