A herculean effort mounted by Secretary Civil Aviation Nambiar and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Nasim Zaidi helped India pass the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program audit of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
During its 2006 audits, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had found several violations of 300 guidelines. Shortage of skilled manpower was the biggest problem.
Earlier this year, the FAA came for an audit and gave India five months before downgrading it, something that would have meant no new flights by Indian airlines to America and strict checks for their planes on US soil.
In this short time Nambiar and Zaidi strengthened the regulatory mechanism by getting almost 600 technical posts sanctioned for effective implementation of much needed rules for safe flying that were also put in place.
Now as a result, Indian carriers like Jet Airways and Air India will be able to able to expand their service in the US through more flights and new access points.
They will also be able to enter into code share agreements with US carriers like the still pending May 2008 one between Jet Airways United Airlines. The delay in FAA approval has even resulted in a diplomatic protest by India.
Its a pity that it took an external threat to goad India’s regulators in to much needed action, but due credit to Mr. Nambiar and Mr. Zaidi and their teams. They day belongs to you!!!