India is set to be removed from the list of nations having significant aviation safety concerns,with an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) showing that action plans were in place to address them.
After a safety audit carried out by ICAO experts,the auditors have informed aviation regulator DGCA yesterday that they would recommend India’s removal from the category of countries have “significant safety concerns”.
“The auditors have cleared us of all the ‘significant safety concerns’. They have recommended this to their (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal,” Director General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra told PTI here.
The week-long audit has shown that India has “implemented corrective action plans to address the safety concerns satisfactorily,” he said.
The formal clearance by the UN-body ICAO is likely to come within a week or 10 days.
The ICAO audit report is significant as India could have been permanently downgraded in terms of following aviation safety norms.
Normally,such a downgrade could have global ramifications and,among other things,lead other countries not to allow the airlines of the downgraded nation to fly in their skies or stop the sale of aviation products.
Earlier this year,India had been clubbed by the ICAO with Congo,Guatemala,Haiti and Hungary which had ‘significant safety concerns’.
In its audit last year too,the ICAO had identified concerns regarding India’s ability to oversee safety of airlines under its jurisdiction.
A major concern expressed by the ICAO audit was about safety issues of the non-scheduled or chartered air operators.
This led the DGCA to issue two successive orders on August 21 and 22 notifying the air charter firms and other such private operators that they could not fly abroad until they applied for and got the required certification.
The certification would imply that the aviation regulator would carry out a complete safety check on their entire air operational capabilities.
The orders came after it was found that some such air operator permit holders,who were authorised to undertake only domestic operations,were carrying international flights without having operational approvals in several areas like ETOPS (extended range twin operations),RNAV (area navigation) and RNP (Required Navigation Performance).
While ETOPS rule certifies that twin-engined planes operated by the charter firms can fly long-distance routes,RNAV or navigation under instrument flight rules are to certify that the aircraft flown has the capability to fly on a select short flight path,rather than navigating with the aid of ground-based beacons.
The DGCA orders meant that the aircraft operated by these charter firms were not certified to carry out long-distance international flights as they were not tested on these counts.
There are about 130 non-scheduled operators in India,of whom about 44 fly abroad regularly.
When asked to comment on reports that Singapore and Hong Kong have prohibited Indian charter aircraft to operate there,DGCA chief Mishra said “we have not received any such report.”