India is expecting to be upgraded to ‘category I’ status of safety rankings after a final report from US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) comes through in about a month’s time. On Tuesday, a visiting FAA team concluded a two-day review of India’s aviation safety oversight mechanism.
The FAA had downgraded India to ‘category II status’ in safety oversight capability in January last year on two key concerns — lack of training of its officials and the absence of even a single full-time flight operations inspectors (FOIs) on DGCA’s rolls. The downgrade meant that no Indian airline could launch any additional flights to the US.
The visiting team from the FAA, which briefed civil aviation secretary V Somasundaram here on Tuesday, is understood to have expressed satisfaction with India’s progress in addressing some “minor findings” pointed out earlier by the US regulator in December.
A senior official at the ministry of civil aviation said, “The FAA had indicated some minor findings after the audit in December last year.
We have 55 full-time FOIs on our rolls and are in the process of recruiting another 20-odd FOIs. They are satisfied with our performance and we should regain category I status shortly.” The formal communication from the FAA in this regard is scheduled to come in a month’s time, he indicated.
A senior official in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation confirmed, “There are no major findings. They (FAA) will send in a formal report but from what they have said we will be upgraded soon.” In response to a query from The Indian Express, a FAA spokesperson said, “We have not made an announcement about India’s IASA rating. I will be happy to let you know when we have news.”