After being exposed by an international safety audit as being short of surveillance staff, India's aviation safety regulator is hurriedly hiring retired aviation professionals to help it maintain security standards.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has started a recruitment drive through which it is offering jobs to retired aviation professionals aged below 65. A majority of the 200 vacant positions the agency seeks to fill are for officials who conduct safety checks on flight operations and assess an aircraft's airworthiness.
Less than a month ago, an audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) gave poor grades to the DGCA, citing shortage of manpower at crucial surveillance posts.
"This is an interim measure to hire the best in the industry till such time we are financially independent," said DGCA chief Arun Mishra.
Incidentally, ICAO's previous safety audit report in 2006 had also pulled up the regulator's office for the same shortcoming. Subsequently, the DGCA had hired senior pilots from domestic airlines' to double up as flight operation inspectors, but the appointment raised concerns of conflict of interests as these pilots were asked to conduct audits on rival firms.
Mishra added that the problems of staff crunch would be solved after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is formed. The new body, proposed to replace the DGCA, will be financially autonomous.