Indian air traffic controllers (ATCs) will get an opportunity to train in the US, thanks to initiatives launched by the two countries to ramp up their ties in the civil aviation sector.
The training will be conducted under the India-US Aviation Cooperation Programme (ACP) that will be overseen by the US-India Joint Aviation Steering Committee, whose first meeting was held in the Capital on Friday. <b1>
"The training is the first project of the ACP. It will begin in January and run through 2008, focusing on air traffic operations at the two busiest Indian airports of Delhi and Mumbai," James Filippatos of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), told reporters here Friday.
"The project will be completed in four phases, permitting Indian and American air traffic control officials to work together," added Filippatos, who is the FAA assistant administrator for international aviation.
He attended the first meeting of the steering committee Thursday, as also the ACP meeting Friday.
The ACP is a public-private partnership between the US Trade and Development Agency, the FAA, US aviation companies and the Indian government.
"The Aviation Cooperation Program provides a forum for communication between the government of India and US public and private sector companies in India and works directly with the Indian government to support India's civil aviation sector modernization priorities," a US embassy release said.
On its part, the steering committee will oversee the work of various working groups that will focus initially on air traffic control, flight standards, airports, airworthiness and environmental issues, Filippatos said.
Each working group will be co-chaired by a senior executive from the FAA and the Indian civil aviation ministry "and will develop and implement a work plan and report its progress regularly to the steering committee", the official added.
The steering committee will meet every six months "to prioritise and give directions to the working groups", Filippatos said.
"We see an opportunity to enhance our partnership with India because the growth is (occurring) here," said Filippatos of the two initiatives, which grew out of a suggestion made by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel at the first US-India Aviation Summit here in April.
India is one of 15 countries worldwide where FAA has a permanent representation.