The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has described the results of its 2013 annual safety report as “very positive for global aviation safety outcomes.” The report, released on April 10, showed the 2013 global accident rate to have declined to 2.8 per million departures last year versus 3.2 per million in 2012. The number of fatal accidents among scheduled air carriers, however, remained steady at nine last year. Fatalities plummeted 55 percent from 2012, to 173 from 388. Compared with a 2010 baseline, fatalities are down 74 percent.
Civil aviation authorities
The European Commission plans to set “tough new standards” to regulate the operation of UAVs, known as remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in Europe, before they are more widely introduced into unrestricted airspace in 2016. The standards will cover safety, security, privacy, data protection, insurance and liability, the commission said.
In its recommendations for improving general aviation in India, an ICAO-led group has recommended to India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) include: Fully implementing a safety management system and ensure the industry is fully compliant; hiring and training sufficient qualified technical and administrative staff to carry out its obligations, and removing the pilot experience requirements for nonscheduled operators that require 500 hours, including 25 hours in type.
With general aviation regulations in India caught up in a web of complex rules, the industry has expressed a need for a stable regulatory framework that would allow it to grow in a sound, more straightforward regulatory regime. Addressing this, an ICAO-led group drafted a set of recommendations for a policy on general aviation–including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and seaplanes–and submitted them to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in April 2012.
India’s economic downturn over the past couple of years has resulted in negative growth for general aviation there, which has “hit rock bottom,” according to Rohit Kapur, president of the country’s Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA).
India’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) accused the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of trying to undermine the industry’s reputation by leaking observations made about nonscheduled operators during routine safety checks. According to the industry group, government officials have disclosed the findings of the checks to divert blame from the DGCA in the wake of the January 2014 downgrading of India’s safety rating by the U.S.
Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.
As India enters the final phase of elections carried out in phases over five weeks starting April 7, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued strict safety guidelines for general aviation aircraft operators conducting flights for candidates. It warned that non-compliance could lead to suspension of licenses and air operator permits.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has rebuffed attacks on its safety record made in the Scandinavian media in relation to Norwegian Air Shuttle’s controversial plan to operate under an Irish air operator certificate even though none of its services will depart from Ireland. The authority condemned what it said are “misguided” statements.
Thai Civil Aviation Authority auditors have completed the appraisal of independent complete aircraft spares support specialist AJW Technique’s facility in Montreal. The audit comprised a review of quality systems and processes; no areas were in need of corrective action.