DGCA

Tag Archives for DGCA.

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…

Continue Reading »

SpiceJet limited to bookings 1 month ahead only by regulator

Looking at the troubles Spicejet is undergoing at the moment, the regulator for aviation safety in India, DGCA, ordered them to stop accepting bookings beyond the 30 day period, amongst other measures they took against the airline over last weekend. First things first, here on, because Spicejet’s schedule integrity has gone for a toss, the DGCA ordered it to stop bookings for a period more than 30 days out. Initially, Spicejet did not comply with this decision, however here on, you cannot book Spicejet tickets more than 30 days out. Their website displays this notification very clearly. When I tried searching for a ticket more than 30 days out, I got nothing. However, they are still selling tickets for the…

Continue Reading »

DGCA oversteps its brief, issues passenger comfort circular

The Directorate General for Civil Aviation, which is India’s aviation regulator, does not have a clue of what it can and what it can’t do. As a result, people in their office think that they can regulate anything that has the word aviation in it, or air, or something like that. They’ve tried intervening in fare sales, airline pricing and so on. However, from the “About DGCA” page on their website, updated in September 2013, their key function is listed below as: Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the regulatory body governing the safety aspects of civil aviation in India. I consider that sorted then, about the real purpose of DGCA is to take care of aviation safety and that…

Continue Reading »

Personal Electronic Devices on India’s airlines

A few weeks back I had written about the regulatory notification which modified the rules for the use of Personal Electronic Devices on airplanes while in flight and on the ground. Since then, I’ve waited for airlines to go ahead and execute the rules on the ground. I’m glad to report now it is no issue to use your electronics on board. Here is a collection of various domestic airlines and how they are implementing the rule at this moment: SpiceJet: SpiceJet was the first off the block. They claim they were the first to implement the revised rules, however they are allowing the use of PEDs/phones only above 10,000 feet even now. As per their COO, they don’t find…

Continue Reading »

India now allows gate-to-gate use of Portable Electronic Devices

For the longest time, India has had a rule, which stated that Portable Electronic Devices could not be used while planes are airborne, not even in flight-safe/airplane mode. Not that it dissuaded passengers because we thought our rules were in line with the rest of the world and hence we continued to use them anyways. Sometimes you’d run into issues with airline staff, because they wanted compliance, but it would all pan out well in the end. Until the DGCA put SpiceJet in a mess for this incident on Holi. Yesterday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India’s civil aviation regulator, decided to finally update the rulebook to bring it in line with the rest of the world. the last…

Continue Reading »

DGCA downgraded by FAA to Category II

In a not-so-surprise move by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), after their second review of the Directorate General of Indian Aviation (DGCA) in December 2013, they have downgraded the rating to Category 2, putting India in the same league as Ghana, Barbados and Bangladesh apart from some other countries (a total of 12). The inference of this is that the DGCA does not comply with the safety standards set by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Here is the list of FAA ratings in Excel Worksheet format. The implications of this are that there can be surprise checks on aircrafts of Indian carriers flying to the USA, and till the rating is brought back to Category 1, Air India and Jet…

Continue Reading »

A new Indian Aviation regulator and a new fee for you

Last week was full of news articles about how a new Aviation regulator is coming up for India. The currently existing Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) will soon be replaced with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which will be an autonomous regulator for Indian civil aviation, unlike DGCA which is under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India. Business Standard published a very good news report on the proposed structure of the new aviation regulator, and how it needs to be self sufficient. Unlike the DGCA, CAA will need to earn its own bread and butter. Here is how it proposes to do that: CAA will primarily get revenues from three sources: First, the Airports Authority of India will…

Continue Reading »

India, welcome to unbundled fares!

The Indian Civil Aviation market is up for a change, since after years of disallowing unbundling of fares, the aviation regulator & minister have finally come around to allow this move, in line with global practices. As per the new regulations, notified earlier this evening, the aviation regulator has allowed the following services to be charged for separately: Preferential seating Meal/snack/drink charges (except drinking water) Charge for using Airlines’ lounges Check in baggage charges Sports equipment carriage Musical instrument carriage Fee for special declaration of valuable baggage The regulator expects that base prices of tickets will go down when various services will be unbundled, however, I do not expect this to be the case because airlines in India would rather…

Continue Reading »

The economics of Spicejet’s fare sale and justifying the regulator’s action

I got quite some amount of pushback on the SpiceJet sale that happened last weekend and I thought I’d pen down my thoughts here. I think there were 2 sorts of concerns, firstly about people not being able to find the fare and secondly about the concept of the sale as a whole, with a bleeding market as a whole. I first heard about the sale on Friday morning 0800 IST approximately, and immediately got down to work on rearranging some of my existing travel which would have anyways happened for me or my family. For instance, I had a ticket booked for my brother, who was going to be on a DEL-JAI-BOM flight during the sale period and was…

Continue Reading »

Travelling to the US/Canada/India via Europe? Now more checked bags for you!

Last year in October, I wrote about the Indian aviation regulator sending a stinker to all foreign airlines operating from India, about the baggage allowance of 1 23 kg (50 lb) checked-bag being not the standard offer for passengers travelling economy, while all Indian airlines offer 2×23 kgs (50 lb) baggage to be checked-in. We never heard much of it back then, but seems like the arm-twisting worked with the Lufthansa group. In a change of tack, Lufthansa has announced a new allowance for passengers travelling between India and the USA, Canada (or vice versa) on Lufthansa group airlines. Lufthansa, Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines will offer two 23 kgs (50 lb) bags as checked bag allowance for all flights ticketed on or…

Continue Reading »