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 Airways won’t be able to increase flights to the USA. Alongside, they won’t be able to enter into any new codeshare pacts with American carriers at the moment.

It is widely expected that this could have an impact on Air India’s move to join the Star Alliance. This is also expected to impact the plan for Jet Airways’ expansion in the USA, where Chicago was going to be a new station, and Jet Airways is going to operated a flight for Etihad to New York.

It is not like the DGCA did not know about this, it is just that they did not take this seriously enough since 2009 when it first came up. Now only if they’d create the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) finally and upgrade the regulatory mechanism for Indian aviation, that’d be a great start.

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