The Federal Aviation Administration has restored a Category 1 rating to India under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.
This action means that, in the FAA’s judgment India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) complies with international air safety oversight and enforcement standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The restored Category 1 rating permits India’s airlines to add new flights to the United States using their own aircraft and also to carry the flight codes of U.S. carriers on their flights, allowing reciprocal codesharing agreements between Indian and U.S. carriers.
India first achieved a Category 1 IASA rating in August 1997. A December 2012 FAA audit identified some deficiencies in the DGCA from ICAO-set global standards for oversight of aviation safety, which led the FAA to downgrade India’s official air safety oversight standards to a Category 2 designation.
Subsequently, the FAA began a reassessment of India’s compliance with ICAO standards under the FAA’s IASA program.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the restoration of India’s Category 1 IASA status during a meeting he had on April 8 with India’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, in India’s capital New Delhi.
“U.S. and Indian aviation officials have an important, cooperative working relationship,” said Secretary Foxx. “The United States Government commends the Government of India for taking corrective action to address the safety oversight issues identified during the IASA process.”
In order to maintain a Category 1 IASA rating, a country must adhere to the safety oversight standards of ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for international civil aviation which establishes international standards and recommended practices for government oversight, airports, aircraft operations and maintenance.
A Category 2 rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with the minimum international civil aviation standards, or that its civil aviation authority – the equivalent to the FAA for civil aviation safety matters – is deficient in one or more areas of safety oversight.
These safety-oversight areas cover vital operational factors such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, or inspection procedures and enforcement.