India’s Aviation Safety Ratings On A Rise, America’s FAA Grants Category 1 Status

India has retained the Category 1 status under the United States Federal Aviation Administration’s aviation safety assessment programme, a development that will provide a fillip to Indian carriers as they expand their overseas operations. The latest development also comes a few months after India’s safety ranking significantly improved in the audit done by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). FAA under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme determines whether a country’s oversight of its air carriers that operate, or seek to operate, into the US or codeshare with a US air carrier, complies with safety standards established by ICAO.

In a statement, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that based on the outcomes of the assessment and follow-ups, FAA informed it on Wednesday that “India meets the international standards for aviation safety oversight of the Chicago Convention & its Annexes and continues to retain FAA IASA Category 1 status which was last assessed in July 2018”.

IASA programme focuses on a country’s ability to adhere to international aviation safety standards and recommended practices with respect to personnel licensing, operation of aircraft and airworthiness of aircraft of ICAO.

“India’s Category 1 determination has come at a time when the Indian aviation is on a high growth trajectory and air carriers in India have major capacity induction and expansion plans. Air carriers of Category 1 countries are permitted to operate/expand their services to destinations in US and codeshare with US air carriers,” the statement said.

Domestic carriers, especially Air India and IndiGo, have ambitious plans for operations on international routes, including the US. According to the statement, FAA said that DGCA has demonstrated a commitment towards ensuring an effective safety oversight of India’s aviation system and appreciated the positive manner in which DGCA has worked with them.

Under its IASA programme, FAA conducted an audit of DGCA from October 25 to 29, 2021 in the areas of aircraft operations, airworthiness and personnel licensing. The assessment was followed by final consultations on April 25 and 26 last year. Subsequently, there was a review by FAA in July 2022 and September 2022.

“The assessment by ICAO as well as FAA is a testimony to India’s commitment of having an effective safety oversight for its civil aviation system,” the statement said. In the ICAO audit in November last year, India’s global ranking improved significantly, with an Effective Implementation (EI) score of 85.65 per cent compared to 69.95 per cent earlier.

In a tweet, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said India’s standards for aviation safety oversight “continue to be amongst the best in the world! Congratulations @MoCA_GoI”. After a significant 16 per cent jump in its ICAO global rating, yet again, India’s civil aviation sector successfully retains its Category 1 status with FAA, he said.

The ministry, in a series of tweets, said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Scindia, “we are dedicated to ensuring a seamless & safe flying experience for all passengers”. India is one of the fastest growing civil aviation markets in the world.


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