India gets back its Category 1 safety rating by FAA

Like I’d written on this blog about 14 months back, India had received a downgrade of its safety assessment rating from the American civil aviation authority FAA, which conducts an inspection on the regulators of all the countries who operate flights to the USA. The downgrade was done on the premise that India’s regulator did not have the expertise to supervise India’s airlines, and needed to beef up their know how to be able to get back to Category 1.

The impact of this downgrade, a privilege that only few other countries had, was that India’s airlines could not launch new flights to the USA, and the ones which they already had, would face additional scrutiny. Also, no American airlines could have, even a code-sharing relationship with an Indian airline.

Over the months the aviation regulator of India, DGCA, has gone through multiple audits with the FAA, and hired people and beefed up processes. As a result of their efforts, India received its Category 1 safety rating last evening.

How does this help?

There are two major implications of this rating upgrade:

  • Jet Airways and Air India can restart plans to have more flights into the USA. While Air India does not have any crystallised plans at the moment, Jet Airways can take over the operations of the flight to SFO for sure, which is currently billed as an Etihad flight.
  • Codeshares are back in action. Earlier, American and United used to Codeshare with Jet which they had to withdraw once the new ratings came into play.

Let’s hope this indicates picking up of business for the Indian carriers.

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