Audit casts shadow on India's air safety | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Audit casts shadow on India's air safety

mumbai Updated: Dec 27, 2012 01:49 IST
Soubhik Mitra

India fares worse than countries such as Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan when it comes to following air safety regulations, an audit has revealed.

According to documents accessed by HT, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) - the global policy maker for air safety - which conducted the audit, was not satisfied with most parameters set for effective implementation of safety norms.

The parameters where India performed badly include flight operations, air regulation and accident investigation.

The audit has a universal methodology wherein the ICAO asks the aviation safety regulator, in India's case the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to respond to a list of protocol questions. Of the 12 parameters, the DGCA was unable to satisfy even one completely.

The performance was particularly bad in areas such as implementation of training programmes wherein the auditors were satisfied with just eight of the 42 responses. Similarly, the DGCA gave satisfactory responses to only 16% of the questions on air accident investigation.

"The ICAO audit portrays the true picture. If the ministry and DGCA want to be transparent, they should permit the ICAO to place their audit findings on the open page," said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, an independent air safety panel set up after the Air India Express crash at Mangalore.

Also, none of the responses to the 40 questions asked on air navigation system satisfied the ICAO. Barring personnel licensing and training, close to 70% responses on other technical parameters were also not satisfactory.

DGCA chief Arun Mishra did not respond to calls.