Chennai: Recently expressed concerns that India may be downgraded to a Category-2 country by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) appear to have been put to rest, judging by assurances provided by the Airports Authority of India, chairman, VP Agrawal.
''A final meeting on the matter will take place in August, but there will be no downgrading,'' he said here last week.
Under a Category-2 status, air services between the two countries would have been severely limited.
An International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) report had earlier pointed out lacunas in the country's aviation safety. An ICAO audit of India, conducted in October 2006, came up with deficiencies in legislation, organisation, personnel licensing, operation of aircraft, checking airworthiness of aircraft, aircraft accident and incident investigations, air navigation services and aerodromes.
The emphasis of the findings was primarily on the lack of an adequately structured civil aviation organisation in India to carry out effective safety oversight obligations, shortage of trained technical manpower in Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), especially in areas of flight operations, air navigation services and an effective mechanism of resolution of safety concerns for safe civil aviation.
An understanding appears to have been arrived at by authorities in both nations. ''They had earlier had issues with the DGCA playing the regulatory role without adequate equipment, manpower to do the same. FAA had raised some eighteen to nineteen points but now there is a time line within which we have promised we will deliver,'' Agrawal said.
The FAA is due to make a final round of inspections in August.