The Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Ajit Singh today said that Civil Aviation Authority, (CAA) will soon replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA). Addressing a press conference, the Minister said that the Bill for creation of the Authority is likely to be introduced in the second part of the Budget session of Parliament. The Civil Aviation Authority will be headed by a Chairperson who will be supported by Director-General and seven to nine members. Chairperson, DG and Members will be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Selection Committee. In this backdrop, the CAA would take over the responsibilities of the DGCA in areas like air safety, airspace regulation, setting aviation standards, licensing of airlines, pilots, air traffic controllers and consumer protection.
It would have financial and operational autonomy to take expeditious decisions on matters relating to a range of activities. It will have power and authority to call for information including financial information and conduct investigations, power to issue directions, power of seizure, power to punish any person, operator, company or a Government Department, if they fail to comply with its orders or directions and the punishment will be in the form of fine as prescribed under the Rules.
The Authority shall have full financial autonomy and shall have a separate fund, the Civil Aviation Authority of India Fund which will be used for all expenses of the authority in connection with the discharge of its functions including salaries etc. The Authority will be a self-funding entity duly authorized by the Government and will have power to fix and collect fees and charges for all functions, duties and services required to be performed by the Authority. Authority may levy charges for safety oversight functions of the air navigation services, safety fee from the passengers for safety oversight functions and safety fee for surveillance inspection of air transport operators etc. with the prior permission of the Government. It is proposed to create this fund by collecting fee from air navigation service providers and passengers in additional to the budgetary support given by the Government.
The main functions and powers of the proposed CAA, which would replace the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will be to regulate civil aviation safety and provide for the better management of civil aviation through safety oversight of air transport operators, airport operators, air navigation service operators and providers of civil aviation services. It will also issue licenses, certificates, permits, approvals etc. required to be issued under the Aircraft Act, 1934 and Aircraft Rules. Besides, it will also provide environment regulations for airports, airlines and other civil aviation activities and protect interest of the consumers.
The minister said that the reasons for establishment of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are because of shortage of trained human resource, its inability to recruit and retain adequate manpower due to procedural and structural problems. The manpower has remained the same over the years though passenger traffic, cargo and aircraft movements have increased manifold. Therefore, DGCA is overloaded with increased work and under-staffed. It has limited delegation of financial powers and incapable to make adequate structural changes to meet the demands of a dynamic Civil Aviation sector.This necessitates replacement of DGCA with CAA which will have more administrative and financial power to deal with the fast changing domestic and global aviation scenario.