New rules are being framed by the country’s aviation regulator to ensure that airlines do not cut corners on safety matters even if they are faced with financial difficulties.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is holding consultations to finalise the rules to carry out financial surveillance of airlines and other air operators so that safety aspects are not ignored by them while meeting their cost-cutting requirements, official sources said here.
Though the aviation regulator has already started initial evaluation of the financial health of scheduled carriers, the sources said, the regulations need to be in place for the air operators to follow.
When any carrier is in financial distress, heightened surveillance is required to make sure that it does not cut any cost on safety matters, the sources said, adding the DGCA proposal to prepare a regulation on the issue was in the consultation stage.
The DGCA was also preparing a draft regulation to make it mandatory for all aviation operators like airlines, maintenance organisations, aerodromes and air navigation service providers to establish a dedicated Safety Management System within their organisations.
This has been recommended by the U.N.-body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as part of a series of measures to maintain global safety standards. The sources said the DGCA was holding consultations to get the rule ready.
Director General of Civil Aviation Nasim Zaidi said at a conference yesterday that Government is actively considering creating a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as a regulator and a separate air accident investigator by bifurcating the DGCA.
Separate laws would be brought before Parliament for the purpose. Till now, the DGCA is the civil aviation regulator which makes the rules for the sector and also investigates accidents in order to ensure that these regulations are implemented by all concerned.
A proposal to set up an independent CAA is being “actively considered” by the government in accordance with the recommendations of the ICAO for effective regulatory functions, Zaidi had said.
Regarding a separate investigating body, the government plans to create an impartial probe mechanism in line with similar global bodies like the Federal Aviation Administration of the U.S., CAA in U.K. and European Aviation Safety Agency.
The government is also legislating on implementing ICAO rules relating to Standard and Recommended Practice to ensure reporting and sharing of global data reporting system which collates and analyses all air incidents and accidents. In aviation parlance, accidents refer to those incidents in which lives have been lost.