In a move that is likely to address concerns raised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said that they will fill all posts of flight operations inspector (FOI) by the end of March this year.
“We have fetched approvals from the government for 75 posts flight operations inspector in the DGCA. We will start the recruitment drive by next month and complete it by March-end,” said a DGCA official, who did not want to be identified. The official further explained that this will resolve concerns raised in the audits (by ICAO and FAA) held last year. “There are 750 planes operating in the country and we will have one FOI for every ten planes. With these recruitments, we have resolved all concerns raised by the ICAO and FAA,” the official added.
The audits, held in September and December last year, had raised 31 concerns and 29 of them have been completely resolved. The two issues that are yet to be completely resolved, include full-time staff in the Flight Standards Directorate (FSD), to be resolved by March end, and training of DGCA employees, which is currently and employees are being trained in batches.
The audits raised concerns over lack of full-time FOIs in the DGCA. Currently, the DGCA has around 18 FOIs in the FSD, who have been hired on contract post the audits.
The DGCA, prior to that, did not have any regular FOIs and pilots from the scheduled airlines were seconded to DGCA to carry out these functions. These pilots were paid by the respective airlines and not by the DGCA. It had not been able to recruit full-time FOIs due to its inability to pay them market-level salaries.
FOIs are former pilots, who are typically paid an annual compensation as high as Rs 1 crore. The government rules do not permit salaries of this magnitude, which is why FOIs are being hired on contract with official sanction.
A government release said that the FSD will now comprise of one chief flight operation inspector, 6 deputy chief flight operation