New Delhi: Civil aviation regulator DGCA has drafted rules for licensing of air traffic control officers (ATCOs) and would soon be sending them to the government for approval.
The ATCOs licensing rules have already been drafted and "we will be sending them for government approval very soon," official sources said today.
After the rules are approved by the government and notified, the ATCOs would be subjected to licensing by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation`s newly-established Air Traffic Management Directorate, the sources said.
India is facing an acute shortage of ATCOs, with the recent official figures showing that there were a total of 1,630 ATC officers as against a sanctioned strength of 2,107 despite a recruitment drive being initiated.
This has led to heightening of workload on the ATCOs. The Justice Lahoti Commission, which went into the mid-air collision over Charkhi Dadri near Delhi in November 1996
killing all 349 people on board the two aircraft, had also pointed this out several years ago.
The Commission had observed that "the workload of the (air traffic) controller was definitively excessive". It had also observed that "the Indian government adopted an Open sky policy but the same has...resulted in...tremendous increase in air traffic without matching additions to ATC infrastructure".
The sources said the licensing of ATCOs would be based on international standards as per the parameters laid down by the UN-body, International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Regarding training and re-training facilities for the ATCOs, they said at present ATCOs undergo a 6-month to a year long training at the Allahabad-based Civil Aviation Training
College, before being inducted into active work.
Several globally reputed organisations were in talks with the Civil Aviation Ministry and the DGCA to help set up new training facilities for ATCOs in the country, the sources
The decision to license ATCOs was taken on the basis of recommendations of a committee on the civil aviation sector, headed by former Civil Aviation Secretary M K Kaw.
Following this, the Aircraft Act of 1934 was amended to empower the government regulator to do licensing of the personnel engaged in air traffic control.
The amendment also empowered DGCA to carry out certification, inspection and regulation of the Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) facilities in the country.