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ICAO Concludes Audit Of India's Aviation Sector

The UN aviation watchdog ICAO has concluded its audit of the country's aviation sector and according to preliminary feedback it was "satisfied" with the regulatory mechanism, the government said today.

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A five-member audit team of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was in India between November 6 and November 16 as part of its universal safety oversight audit programme.


The team appraised six different areas, including personnel licencing, airworthiness, operations, legislation and organisation. The team members visited Chennai, Mumbai and that Civil Aviation Training College in Allahabad to inspect implementation of safety procedures laid down by the ICAO and India's aviation regulatory body Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).


"As per preliminary feedback, the audit team was satisfied with the safety system put in place by the safety regulator," according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.


The audit involved verification of response provided by the DGCA to certain protocol questions sent by the ICAO.


The ICAO audit carries a lot of weight globally and is crucial for India's aviation sector, which has emerged as one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets in the world.


To ensure that global aviation safety measures are complied with, the ICAO regularly carries out the universal safety oversight audit of its member states.


After an audit in 2012, the ICAO had placed India in its list of 13 worst-performing nations. Subsequently, a similar exercise carried out in 2014 by the US regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded India's aviation safety ranking, bringing it below Pakistan and on par with countries such as Ghana, Barbados and Bangladesh.


As a result, Indian airlines were not allowed to add new routes to the US or sign commercial agreements with US airlines during this period. The rating was restored to the top category in 2015, when India reportedly scored better than the global average in airworthiness, air navigation services, operations and licensing. 


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