DGCA certifies 253 of city’s 350 air traffic controllersUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 00:42 IST
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has certified majority of the country’s air traffic controllers (ATCOs) by issuing licences, fulfilling an important safety requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nation’s aviation watchdog.
Mumbai, which has the country’s second largest retinue of ATCOs, received certificates for 253 of its 350 staff. New staff will get certificates from DGCA after the completion of training.
ATCOs are hired and trained by Airports Authority of India (AAI) to manage control centres at airports to guide aircraft movement, but ICAO wanted controllers to be certified by a third party, such as DGCA, to ensure safety standards are maintained.
An AAI official said, “Earlier we used to keep records of our ATCOs, but DGCA will keep records of every controller from now on. It will also check if all mandatory checks and tests are done before an ATCO is allowed to handle flight movement to enhance safety of passengers.”
The certification is important because inadequately trained ATCOs can affect a country’s aviation safety ratings. In November 2017, ICAO had carried out a universal safety oversight audit programme in India, followed by another audit in February 2018. India’s score was below that of other countries in south Asia such as Nepal and Pakistan.
Officials privy to the matter had said the decline in score was due to low ratings of ATCOs due to licence-related issues.
Around 2,400 ATCOs across the country had applied for licence since the process began in 2017. According to AAI, 2,264 ATCOs have received licences issued by DGCA. The first licence was handed over by aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, making it the first-ever such initiative under Aircraft Rules, 1937, bringing the country at par with international standards.