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DGCA seeks US and European civil aviation expertise for its revamp
26 January 2007

New Delhi: Faced with exponential growth in the aviation sector, the government is planning to strengthen and restructure the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to enable it to handle increased responsibilities.

According to civil aviation ministry sources, the DGCA would be restructured along the lines of the US regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). A recent understanding with the US will allow the for DGCA to benefit from FAA's extensive knowledge and experience. A similar understanding is now being sought to be put into place with the European Union. In line with these agreements, both the international aviation regulatory institutions are expected to help the government in its restructuring efforts.

Government civil aviation authorities point out that with the launch of private airlines, their work load has increased ten-fold over the past decade. This has led to an acute shortage of manpower in various areas, such as airworthiness certification, air safety, and the R&D department, as an increase in their workforce has not kept pace with this growth. As a pointer to this phenomenon, they point to the observations made by the Kaw committee, instituted last year to assist in restructuring DGCA.

The committee observed that while the number of aircraft operating in India had increased to 668 in March 2006, from 219, in 1991, staff strength of the DGCA had actually declined to 122 in 2006 from 133 in 1991.

Also, as part of the overall sprucing up of the government machinery, the civil aviation ministry is pushing for the setting up of the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority, which will mainly regulate airports, even as the DGCA continues to regulate all other functions.

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