India's aviation standards set to get a facelift | india | Hindustan Times
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India's aviation standards set to get a facelift

Govt will soon make amendments in rules and procedures to ensure effective inspections of pilots and aircraft and to improve safety standards.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 12:02 IST

With India's aviation industry witnessing a boom, the government will soon make amendments in rules and procedures to ensure effective inspections of pilots and aircraft and to improve safety standards.

A committee headed by former civil aviation secretary MK Kaw is to submit shortly a report that will recommend changes to empower the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country's aviation regulator, to facilitate more stringent checking of pilots, aircraft and documentations.

The committee is also framing modalities to upgrade and modernise DGCA and enhance its powers and abilities for better monitoring of the aviation industry.

Sources familiar with the working of the committee said "some of the procedures currently followed in India are quite obsolete".

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel recently said: "With increases in the number of planes, flights and passengers (that have been) fuelled by a growing economy and low fares, DGCA will need to be proactive on safety.

"Its functioning will need to be fully in sync with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and it will have to pay close attention to its own organisational structure, personnel and training."

Additional services that are currently with bodies like the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will also be assigned to DGCA, the sources said.

"The rating of air traffic controllers, which is currently done by AAI, is likely to be shifted to DGCA," said a source familiar with the procedures.

The committee has also asked for certain changes in the functioning of DGCA in terms of licensing of pilots and inspection of aircraft.

"The committee will cover everything, including airworthiness of aircraft, operations, scheduling, licensing of personnel, airports and air traffic control," an official said, adding that its recommendations would "give DGCA a completely new look".

Sources said the committee had drafted recommendations to facilitate the online filing of papers by airlines related to flight schedules and other procedural matters. This would expedite the processing of such matters by Indian authorities.

"Suggestions have been made to adopt electronic data management and filing systems that will expedite the various processes," the source said.

The Kaw committee's report is expected "any moment", said a senior official of the aviation industry, pointing out that the panel had already overshot its deadline of Feb 28. Sources pointed out that the government had not given any extension to the committee and directed it to file its report at the earliest.

The committee was constituted in August 2005 to consider changes necessary in the booming aviation sector, especially to bring India's laws and regulations in line with ICAO standards and to recommend practices to fine-tune the role and functions of DGCA.

Riding on the growth of the Indian economy, the aviation industry has charted an estimated passenger growth rate of about 25-30 percent in recent years, according to market analysts.

Reflecting the trend, Indian carriers were much sought after at Asian Aerospace, the region's largest air show held last month in Singapore, where several airlines from the country signed aircraft and engine purchase deals worth about $6 billion.

State-run domestic carrier Indian signed a deal with Airbus last month to buy 43 aircraft for $2.5 billion.