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DGCA to meet airlines ahead of ICAO audit

Aviation regulator DGCA will hold a meeting with airlines on Monday to assess their preparedness for the upcoming audit by the UN safety watchdog ICAO, an official said.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is set to carry out a safety oversight audit of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in November this year.

The audit is conducted in areas related to legislation, organisation, licensing, operation, airworthiness, accident investigation, air navigation and aerodromes.

Along with the DGCA safety audit, the ICAO will also “randomly” pick an airline to check its compliance of the safety regulations, according to a senior DGCA official.

Significantly, the DGCA has already commenced a special audit of all scheduled domestic airlines to check their compliance with various safety and airworthiness requirements.

“The DGCA will hold a meeting with the airlines here tomorrow to check their preparedness for the upcoming safety audit by the ICAO,” the official said.

“It is going to be the DGCA audit as well as of an airline which will be picked up randomly to check compliance,” the official said.

The DGCA is ready for the audit but the airlines will also have to be prepared for it, the official said, adding,” We have already issued them guidelines in this regard long back.”

“They have inadvertent problems and they have to overcome (before the audit is undertaken). They have to show compliance of regulations,” the official said.

The official said the meeting is part of the exercise being undertaken by the DGCA both at its headquarters as well as well as various regional offices.

According to DGCA data, a record 422 air safety violations were detected by it in 2016 against 275 in 2015, amid India witnessing the highest air passenger growth in the world.

Marking the highest growth for any country, India registered a growth of 20.3 per cent in domestic air traffic in June, according to the data released by the global airlines body IATA last week.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said India topped the growth chart in the first half of this year. The demand is measured in terms of total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs.

After an audit in 2012, ICAO and US body Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) downgraded the country’s civil aviation sector, virtually putting brakes on the expansion plans of Indian carriers. The ratings were, however, restored in 2015.

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