India's score in the UN aviation watchdog ICAO's air safety oversight audit is likely to improve significantly as steps have been taken to address various issues, a senior official said Wednesday.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (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 per cent from 65.82 per cent earlier, placing India below Pakistan, Nepal and many other nations.
An ICAO team visited India last month and assessed the action taken on issues related to three areas that were audited by the watchdog in November 2015. Those pertained to Aerodromes and Ground Aids, Air Navigation Services (ANS) and Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation.
After the team's visit in November, the preliminary indications are that India's score should improve and is likely to rise to 74 per cent, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) official said.
Currently, the country's score is 57.44 per cent, while the world average is around 65 per cent.
The ICAO looks at eight areas during an audit. They include Primary Aviation Legislation and Civil Aviation Regulations, Civil Aviation Organisation, Personnel Licensing and Training, Aircraft Operations and Airworthiness of Aircraft.
During the November 2017 visit, the ICAO team assessed five areas -- Personnel Licensing and Training, Aircraft Operations, Airworthiness of Aircraft, Primary Aviation Legislation and Civil Aviation Regulations, and Civil Aviation Organisation.
The government is in the process of empowering the DGCA to regulate air traffic controllers and its implementation, expected in the first half of 2019, will help further improve the audit score.
Currently, ratings of air traffic controllers are done by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which is also the provider of air traffic control services.
In July, the US regulator carried out an audit and had made a substantial number of observations.
During their recent visit, the FAA took note of the actions taken with respect to the observations that were made earlier, the official added.
In 2013, the American regulator had downgraded the safety ranking of the Indian aviation sector and it was restored only in 2015.
(With inputs from agencies.)