The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives will be visiting India early next month to evaluate India’s aviation safety mechanism, almost 13 months after downgrading India’s aviation sector from the top Category-I to Category-II over safety oversight, a top civil aviation ministry official said on Wednesday.
The government is hopeful that the downgrade would be lifted soon after the USFAA visit. Government sources said that the deficiencies existed even earlier but it was due to the lackadaisical and indifferent approach of the UPA government that led to the downgrade of the sector.
The US FAA had earlier conducted a fresh safety audit of the DGCA in December 2014 and had reassessed their earlier findings of deficiencies on eight counts. It had conducted two safety audits in September and December 2013 after which it had downgraded India’s aviation safety mechanism to Category-II on January 31 last year.
The downgrade means that India’s safety oversight system does not meet the minimum standards laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Due to the downgrade, Indian carriers — Air India and Jet Airways — would not be able to expand their flights to the US or tie up with any American carrier for expansion of operations. These carriers are also subject to additional safety checks at US airports.