A series of measures to give DGCA more teeth

Two more directorates of Air Space and Air Traffic Management have been created in the DGCA, more steps contemplated

PTI | February 9, 2010

The government has initiated a series of measures to strengthen the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and give it more teeth.

While there has been a long-pending demand for segregation of DGCA's supervisory and regulatory roles, the unprecedented growth in air traffic for the past six years has made the government to give high priority to strengthening its regulatory mechanism, official sources said here on Tuesday.

As per official figures, aircraft movements have risen from 7,17,597 in 2004-05 to 13,06,532 in 2008-09 and total passenger traffic from 37 million to 69 million.

They said there was "no such proposal or thinking at present. But we have already initiated steps to strengthen all aspects of DGCA and its activities," on being asked if there were any plans to bifurcate the DGCA.

DGCA got feedback from stakeholders on a proposal to create a Civil Aviation Authority at a meeting last week.

A feasibility study to set up such an authority within the DGCA was commissioned last October in technical cooperation with the UN-body International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The idea of the setting up the authority is to improve financial and administrative autonomy to discharge safety oversight functions more effectively, the sources said.

Among other steps taken is the strengthening of its "safety oversight capability" by creating over 650 technical positions and implementing an aggressive recruitment plan.

Keeping in mind the rise in air traffic and more private operators entering the sector, two more directorates of Air Space and Air Traffic Management have been created in the DGCA, the sources said.

On passenger side, the DGCA has been framing rules for refund of tickets, those denied boarding, cancellation and delays of flights. The on-time performance of airlines is being monitored periodically and brought into public domain.

A series of safety measures have been undertaken with implementation and updation of ICAO rules. India has been retained in top category by US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under International Safety Assessment Programme.

As per the proposal, the CAA would be a self-funded, no profit-no loss organisation, while a separate body would be formed for independent investigation of accidents.

However, the sources said creation of CAA would have to go through the legal and parliamentary processes which would take at least two years.



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