FAA Set To Audit India’s Category 1 Safety Rating

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to audit Category 1 safety rating next week. Representatives of the United States agency are set to arrive in the South Asian country this weekend.

Air India Boeing 787
India’s aviation scene has been dealing with the aftermath of Air India’s sale, but it will now divert its attention to this important visit from the FAA. Photo: Getty Images

The focus

The FAA audit will primarily concentrate on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) ability to follow safety protocols. Core areas such as flight operations, personnel, and aircraft airworthiness are all factors that will be analyzed.

CNBC-TV18 notes that a high rating assists India’s carriers in their goals to add new services to the US. It could also help with codeshare initiatives and allow for more seamless processes for passengers.

Vistara Boeing 787 Getty
With Vistara keen on boosting its international presence, the carrier will be keeping a close eye on the audit. Photo: Getty Images

Industry standards

In April 2015, former United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that India had been granted its Category 1 rating under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. Authorities of both countries affirmed a commitment to working together and overcoming safety challenges in international civil aviation.

“U.S. and Indian aviation officials have an important, cooperative working relationship,” said Secretary Foxx in a statement at the time.

“The United States Government commends the Government of India for taking corrective action to address the safety oversight issues identified during the IASA process.”

In the FAA’s last India check, which was conducted in 2018, the group shared concerns regarding regulatory and guidance material. However, the DGCA swiftly addressed the issues for India to retain its Category 1 rating.

Category 1 meets International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, and it’s this United Nations department that will conduct an audit of India’s air safety readiness next year. Photo: Getty Images

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A critical period

It’s a busy week for Indian aviation. Just yesterday, the country’s government announced updated guidelines for foreign travelers. From October 25th, there will be new rules, and passengers may find themselves on the “Category A” and “At-risk” lists. This move followed the opening of a new airport in Uttar Pradesh, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Altogether, it’s been a challenging 1.5 years for India’s industry amid the harsh conditions of the global health crisis. International travel has been largely restricted since spring 2020. This next stage will be crucial in the rejuvenation of the country’s market, especially with the national carrier now finally being offered another lease of life.

There is massive growth potential in Indian aviation. The domestic market helped keep airlines active while international flights were considerably restricted. Now that countries around the world, including India, are amending their travel requirements, India’s carriers will be hoping for greater prospects heading into 2022.

What are your thoughts about the Federal Aviation Administration auditing India’s air safety mechanism? What do you make of the prospects of the country’s aviation industry in this next chapter? Let us know what you think of the overall situation in the comment section.