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Friday, January 31, 2014

US Downgrades India's Aviation Rating

Woodrow Bellamy III 

[Aviation Today January 31, 2014] U.S. officials have downgraded India's aviation safety rating due to that country’s lack of compliance with international safety standards as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). 
 
The FAA said India has been assigned a Category 2 rating under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. India received the downgraded rating based on a recent reassessment of the country's civil aviation authority. Although the FAA did not provide details on the downgrading, the lower rating means India's civil aviation authority lacks the ability to meet ICAO standards in areas such as providing adequate manpower for inspections and safety checks on aircraft.
 
During a news briefing, India Aviation Minister Ajit Singh called the downgrading "disappointing" and "surprising," stating that he believes "95 percent of all the issues raised have been solved."
 
"U.S. and Indian aviation officials have developed an important working relationship as our countries work to meet the challenges of ensuring international aviation safety. The FAA is available to work with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to help India regain its Category 1 rating," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. 
 
With the downgraded rating, Indian carriers will not be able to increase their frequency of flights to the U.S. and will face extra inspection for current ones. State-run Air India has 21 weekly flights to the U.S. while Jet Airways has seven.  
 
The FAA originally identified issues with India's civil aviation oversight during its IASA assessment in September. Since then, the India Cabinet has hired 75 additional full-time inspectors, but will need to take further action to address the FAA's concerns.  
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