An aircraft operated by IndiGo, a unit of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

DGCA Licensing Air Traffic Controllers Not To Have ‘Much Impact’, AAI Chief Says

Entrusting the responsibility of licensing air traffic controllers with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation would not have ‘much impact’ on the operational structure of the Airports Authority of India, according to a senior official.

As part of complying with the International Civil Aviation Organization norms, the Civil Aviation Ministry has decided that the DGCA would be issuing licensing for air traffic controllers.

Currently, the AAI licenses air traffic controllers as well as provides air traffic control services. By virtue of having long established practices and adequately trained and skilled manpower, the AAI has been complying with the ICAO provisions pertaining to air traffic services personnel, AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said.

He also noted that as a regulator the DGCA has full oversight over the entire aviation functions, including that of air traffic controllers. The ministry's decision to "entrust the responsibility of licensing of air traffic controllers of the AAI to the DGCA is in line with global best practices. It will not have much impact on the operational structure of the AAI,” Mohapatra told news agency PTI.

The move comes against the backdrop of India's score falling in the latest air safety oversight audit carried out by the ICAO, the UN aviation watchdog.

ICAO carried out the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme for India in November 2017 and another team of the watchdog came in February this year.

The audit result showed that the country's score declined to 57.44 percent from 65.82 percent earlier, placing India below Pakistan, Nepal and many other nations.

The decline was mainly due to ratings of air traffic controllers being given by the AAI, which is also the provider of air traffic control services, officials said in July.

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