There may be no more new flights to the US if the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) fails to raise air safety standards within the next 45 days.
Unhappy with the results of its audit, the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA), the US aviation safety regulator, has threatened to downgrade India, s aid civil aviation ministry sources.
This could mean increased restrictions on Air India and Jet Airways, the two domestic airlines operating US-bound flights, and major inconvenience to passengers.
The restrictions could also mean that Indian airlines will not be allowed to increase flight operations to the US.
“Delay in appropriate action by the DGCA has resulted in this situation,” said Vipul Saxena, independent aviation expert.
“It is high time that the ministry of civil aviation intervenes and ensures that all the concerns raised by the FAA are addressed immediately. This will not only protect India’s reputation, but also the commercial interest of Indian scheduled operators and the tourism sector.”
Other air safety experts concurred.
Captain Mohan Ranganthan, member of the government-appointed Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council, said complacency in safety measures brings the threat of downgrades
“Now, Air India and Jet Airways might face worldwide surprise checks by FAA inspectors,” said Ranganthan.
Ministry sources, however said India’s improved grades at the review audit conducted by the United Nation’s aviation watchdog last month could help the DGCA.
“The Inter national Civil Aviation Organisation team was satisfied with their latest audit. The DGCA might use that to earn some brownie points,” said a senior ministry official.