The Wicks Group assisted the India Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) with preparing for a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program audit, with the goal of restoring India to an FAA IASA Category 1 rating, which indicates compliance with international standards for civil aviation safety oversight and monitoring. The project was funded in part with a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency. India had been downgraded to IASA Category 2 (non-compliant) based on a September 2013 FAA IASA audit, which created problems for its air operators serving the US.
The project began in May 2014 and entailed intensive delivery of technical assistance services to prepare the DGCA for a new FAA IASA audit in December 2014., This was a very quick timeline for moving from non-compliant to compliant structures, staffing, and operations in a country as large and complex as India. Our services included performing a baseline assessment of current compliance status; developing and executing a comprehensive corrective action plan; developing a strategy for effective pre- and post-audit communications with the FAA; evaluating the DGCA’s inspector workforce staffing needs; developing new inspector indoctrination and training programs and assisting with indoctrination training for numerous new inspectors; preparing new or revised air operator certification and surveillance policies and procedures; and providing extensive on-the-job training to DGCA inspectors in carrying out certification, licensing, and surveillance activities in accordance with the international standards reviewed in an IASA audit.
The Wicks Group also provided documentation and training for DGCA personnel on the IASA audit process and was on-site during the audit to support DGCA personnel. Our team continued to assist the DGCA during a post-audit diplomatic consultation period to ensure that a few issues raised in the December 2014 audit were promptly resolved. As a result, the FAA announced on April 8, 2015 that India had been returned to Category 1 status. During the meeting in New Delhi at which the decision was announced, both US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and US Trade and Development Agency Director Leocadia Zak specifically recognized The Wicks Group for its critical role in bringing the DGCA into compliance with the applicable standards so quickly.