Aviation regulator DGCA has issued draft norms for obtaining an air traffic controller’s license and ratings as it prepares for an FAA audit later this month.
The UN aviation watchdog, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), had in its audit last November suggested the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) should be the licensing authority for the air traffic controller (ATCO) just the way it is for the pilots.
ATC is a part of the air traffic management (ATM) wing of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). Though these ATC personnel get ratings through a written and oral exam, conducted by the AAI, they do not come under the licence category of workforce like pilots and cabin crew.
“An air traffic controller’s licence (ATCOL) shall be valid for maximum period of five years from the date of issue and may be renewed for a further period of five years on each occasion,” as per the draft civil aviation requirement (CAR).
“An applicant who meets the requirements will be issued ATCOL in an appropriate category by the director general of DGCA through its ATCO licensing division,” as per the norms.
There are around 3,000 ATCOs working at various airports across the country.
“The holder of an ATCO licence shall not exercise the privileges of their licences and related ratings at any time when they are aware of any decline in their medical fitness which might render them unable to safely and properly exercise these privileges,” the draft CAR stated.
The suggestion on the draft can be submitted by August 1, according to the DGCA.
The regulator also plans to form a committee of ‘seconded inspectors’ employees of AAI who will issue permits to ATCOs and conduct safety checks related to surveillance and navigation.
US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be carrying out an audit of the DGCA from July 16 to 20, covering three key areas – operations, airworthiness and pilots’ licensing mechanism.