New Delhi: Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri handed over the first-ever licence to air traffic controllers of AAI (Airports Authority of India) on Monday, at a ceremony held in Ministry of Civil Aviation, at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, New Delhi. Ministry of Civil Aviation's Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, Ministry of Civil Aviation's Director-General Arun Kumar, AAI's Member (HR) Anuj Aggarwal, AAI's Member (ANS) Vineet Gulati and other senior officers of Ministry of Civil Aviation, DGCA and AAI were also present at the event.
This was a defining moment in the history of Civil Aviation in India as this is the first time that the air traffic controllers are being granted licences by the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) under Aircraft Rules, 1937.
After an audit conducted by Universal Safety Oversight agency of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in November 2017, the ICAO recommended that the DGCA as a regulator shall maintain oversight over the functions of air traffic controllers in Airports Authority of India and Air Navigation Service Provider. The Ministry of Civil Aviation then directed the Director-General Civil Aviation to issue licences and rating to air traffic controllers of AAI.
To enable licencing of air traffic controllers, Director General Civil Aviation approved the Air Traffic Services Training Organisations of Airports Authority of India located at Prayagraj, Hyderabad and Gondia to conduct approved training courses for air traffic controllers.
Through a concerted and coordinated effort on the part of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, DGCA & AAI, the process for licensing of air traffic controllers of AAI started.
A total of around 2,400 air traffic controllers submitted their applications for issuance of licences to DGCA and as on date around 2264 licences are issued.
Once the licences are issued to the air traffic controllers, DGCA will perform the oversight on the functioning of air traffic controllers.