The safety audit by US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which was completed on Friday, is expected to end on a positive note for India with very less likelihood of a downgrade for the country, according to the Indian aviation regulator Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). A final report is expected within the next three weeks.
“They (FAA auditors) were very appreciative of the work done in the last two months and we are working on the points raised by them. They have given sealed evidences and will now give a report to the FAA headquarters,” Arun Mishra, director-general of civil aviation told FE.
In September, the FAA had raised 33 safety-related concerns, of which 5-6 points are still being addressed, according to DGCA official.
The largest issue was a lower-than-sanctioned strength of flight operations inspectors (FOI) and the fact that many of
them were on deputation from airlines, which led to a conflict of interest.
DGCA has since hired new FOIs, taking the total number to over 60.
To address other points raised by FAA, the DGCA has brought in a few minor changes in safety regulations, while the issues that are pending relate to non-scheduled flight operations.
The FAA has asked the DGCA to give specialised training for air worthiness officers with a focus on chartered flights. “We have done the hiring of 16 FOIs and the appointment is now in process. The FAA auditors understand that training takes time for both pilots and airworthiness officers,” Mishra said.