On December 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) informed India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that India has achieved compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety oversight standards and would retain its Category 1 safety rating. Throughout the IASA process, The Wicks Group (TWG), a Washington, DC-based aviation consulting and law firm, provided intensive technical assistance to the DGCA in order to support the retention of India’s Category 1 status.
Under the IASA program, the FAA assesses whether another country’s oversight of its air carriers that operate, or seek to operate, into the U.S., or codeshare with a U.S. air carrier, complies with ICAO international aviation safety standards. The FAA maintains two ratings for the status of a country’s safety oversight compliance. A Category 1 rating means the FAA determined that the country has demonstrated that it meets the ICAO standards for each of the critical elements of civil aviation safety oversight. A Category 2 rating is assigned when the FAA determines the country does not comply with ICAO standards.
The renewal of Category 1 status means air carriers in India can continue to apply for new services to the U.S. and code-share with U.S. carriers. In contrast, had India been downgraded to a Category 2 rating, the United States would not permit expansion or changes in the current services of air carriers to the United States. Additionally, U.S. airlines are generally prohibited from code sharing with foreign air carriers from a Category 2 rated country.
Following a 2013 downgrade to Category 2, the DGCA engaged TWG to provide intensive technical assistance, which culminated in India regaining Category 1 status in 2015. In 2018 the FAA announced that it would re-assess India, and TWG again provided extensive technical and legal support. During the most recent assessment, TWG undertook a specific work plan designed to address inspector training, air operator certification, the enhancement of the designee oversight system, the refinement of the surveillance and enforcement program, as well as the further development of civil aviation regulations and inspector guidance material. The firm also provided assistance to the DGCA during the 60-day post-audit diplomatic consultation period to ensure that all issues raised during the audit were sufficiently resolved.
The Wicks Group has assisted numerous foreign civil aviation authorities achieve or maintain an existing Category 1 rating in the past decade. In fact, the firm is the only commercial IASA TA provider that meets all of the FAA AC 129-5 criteria and also has a 100% record of success in helping countries pass FAA IASA audits. TWG’s IASA audit preparation projects have produced 10 Category 1 ratings for CAAs, with eight of those being awarded in the past seven years. The firm also provides ongoing Category 1 sustainment services to help ensure that civil aviation authorities maintain ICAO-compliant practices over time.
For more information on The Wicks Group’s IASA-related services, please contact Glenn Wicks at (202) 457-7790 (Office) or firstname.lastname@example.org.