Now, DGCA to issue licences to air traffic controllers
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.