Now, DGCA to is­sue licences to air traf­fic con­trollers

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Sau­rabh.Sinha@ times­group.com

New Delhi: In­dian air traf­fic con­trollers (ATCOs) will now be li­censed by the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion (DGCA), just like pi­lots. The avi­a­tion min­istry took this de­ci­sion after the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ICAO) rec­om­mended that air nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices, which pro­vide ATC ser­vice, should come un­der a sep­a­rate reg­u­la­tory agency. For the last 70 years, ATC’s par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion — Air­ports Au­thor­ity of In­dia (AAI) — was do­ing their li­cens­ing too.

“The avi­a­tion min­istry has de­cided that DGCA will do li­cens­ing of ATCOs. AAI has an out­stand­ing ICAO-com­pli­ant train­ing and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem for ATC. We will now ap­prove that and have sur­veil­lance over that sys­tem. The modal­i­ties of the li­cens­ing/cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process un­der DGCA will be fi­nalised soon,” said a se­nior DGCA of­fi­cer. In­dia cur­rently has over 3,000 ATCOs.

The move comes after ICAO au­dited In­dian avi­a­tion un­der its universal safety over­sight au­dit pro­gramme from Novem­ber 6 to 16, 2017, and then raised ques­tions over the “reg­u­la­tory frame­work” for ATC. The con­cern had stemmed from the fact that AAI — the par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion for ATC — gives licences to ATCOs. On the other hand, DGCA is­sues pi­lot licences and pro­fes­sion­als li­censed by this in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor can then work for air­lines. Car­ri­ers on their own do not is­sue licences to pi­lots work­ing for them.

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