US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has expressed serious concern over large number of vacancies in DGCA, including top posts of joint directors general and deputy directors general, at a time when air traffic in India is growing at a rapid pace.
Of the 427 posts sanctioned by the government in 2009 for various directorates of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), it is understood that around 350 posts have lapsed as they were not filled up in so many years.
The vacancies include top technical positions of two joint directors general, five deputy directors general and over 100 directors, deputy directors and assistant directors.
Admitting the existence of a large number of vacancies, Minister of State for civil aviation KC Venugopal had earlier informed Rajya Sabha that “a total of 528 posts are lying vacant against the sanctioned strength of 924.”
In reply to a written question, he had said that filling up of the vacancies was “a continuous process and is done in accordance with the laid down procedure.”
He also said that an additional 427 posts of Group A, B and C categories were created in the DGCA in 2009, out of which some were new posts for which no recruitment rules existed. “In respect of other existing posts also, the recruitment rules were needed to be reviewed and amended.”
Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said in Lok Sabha that in 2011, 16 persons were recruited for DGCA, in 2012, it was 44 and this year, it was only seven till March 20.
FAA, which carried out an audit of the DGCA and put it on notice earlier this month, is also understood to have taken serious note of the lack of policy and procedures for selection of skilled manpower, on-the-job training or even for surveillance of type-rated training organisations.
During the audit, the US regulator is believed to have pointed towards several lapses, including one that the certification file for a non-scheduled operating firm of a top corporate house did not contain records to prove flights’ readiness to fly. Neither was the required technical evaluation of a demonstration flight of Boeing 787 available for DGCA certification.
The sources said these lapses were primarily on account of lack of technical and skilled staff in the DGCA to carry out these jobs.