BCAS and DGCA also get the status under the amendment Bill, 2020. Each of the three to be governed by a Director General, appointed by the Centre
Last month, Rajya Sabha passed the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020 which seeks to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934. The Bill was earlier introduced in Lok Sabha and passed by it in February 2020. The new Bill states to provide statutory status to regulatory institutions like the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB). Each of the three bodies will be governed by a Director General, appointed by the Centre.
According to the Bill, DGCA will carry out oversight and regulatory functions with respect to matters under the Bill. It shall be responsible for carrying out the safety oversight and regulatory functions in respect of matters specified in this Act or the rules made there under. BCAS shall be responsible for carrying out the regulatory and oversight functions in respect of matters relating to civil aviation security specified in this Act or the rules made there under. As for AAIB, the bill mentioned that it shall be responsible for carrying out the functions in respect of matters relating to investigation of aircraft accidents orincidents specified in this Act or the rules made there under.
The statutory status provided to these regulatory institutions is expected to improve India’s aviation safety ranking as suggested by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which has been critical of the absence of a statutory backing to DGCA and other agencies as that impacted India’s safety rankings as well.
The manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of civil aircrafts and licensing of aerodromes is regulated under the Act. Under the Act, the central government may make rules on several matters including registration of aircraft, regulating air transport services, and prohibition of flight over any specified area. The Bill adds the regulation of air navigation services to this list and also allows the centre to empower the Director General of BCAS or any authorised officer to issue directions and make rules on certain matters including conditions under which an aircraft may be flown, inspection of aircrafts, and measures to safeguard civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference.
The clauses for the regulation of air navigation services, that is, aeronautical information services, aeronautical charting and cartography services,aeronautical meteorological services, search and rescue services, procedure for air navigation services and aircraft operations along with safety oversight and regulatory functions; regulatory and oversight functions in respect of matters relating to civil aviation security shall be inserted.