THE US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has restored India's aviation safety rating to Category 1 one year after lowering it to Category 2, citing the lack of full-time flight operation inspectors as a key reasons.
India has taken corrective actions to address FAA’s concerns, said US Department of Transport secretary, Anthony Foxx, who made the announcement on his visit to New Delhi last week.
“(Return to Category 1 status) means our International Aviation Safety Assessment officials have determined that India complies with the safety standards set by ICAO,” Foxx said in a media statement.
India launched an aggressive overhaul of aviation safety standards after demotion to Category 2 last year, mandating a recertification of all local carriers and employing 35 full-time flight operation inspectors.
An FAA review took place in December 2014, followed by subsequent meetings with India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and a visit by FAA officials last month.
The new safety rating is expected to benefit Jet Airways and Air India, the two Indian carriers that currently fly to the US, as it permits carriers to add flights to the US and codeshare with US airlines.
However, according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), the Indian government should be more proactive about aviation safety.
Associate manage of CAPA India, Vishal Bhadola, commented: “India's safety oversight regime needs a fundamental restructuring as growth will bring more challenges, and our under-preparedness might become visible again if long-term strategic correction is not initiated.
“The first step is to have a technical professional head the DGCA. Without that, a real change will not be possible.”