The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Wednesday said the DGCA is meeting the indicative timelines for the issuance of pilot licences despite an increase in the number of applications.
”It is clarified that the application processing time may vary depending upon the complexity and completeness of the application submitted. The indicative timelines published for Issue & Conversion of Commercial Pilot License (CPL) by DGCA is 20 & 30 working days respectively,” it said in a statement.
According to the ministry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been meeting the indicative timelines despite an increase in number of applications. ”Average timelines achieved for applications during 2023 for CPL Issue & Conversion is 22 and 31 working days”.
The total number of CPLs issued in 2022 was the highest in the last decade and this number has already been surpassed in September 2023, it added.
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Further, the statement said the number of CPLs issued is likely to be the highest ever in 2023 and that the DGCA has been issuing licenses and ratings in record numbers for the last two years with the existing manpower.
”The number of licenses & ratings issued has already seen an increase of 45 per cent as on 31 August 2023 compared to entire year of 2022,” it said.
Regarding staff position at the regulator, the statement said the total sanctioned strength of operations cadre at DGCA is 228 and these posts are spread across various Directorates at the regulator.
”Of these 228, the sanctioned strength of technical manpower in Flight Crew Licensing Directorate in DGCA headquarters is 15, against which 12 officers are currently posted,” it noted.
After sanctioning of posts, the ministry said the DGCA has initiated various actions for filling them up.
Promotion orders have been issued in respect of 35 officers in the operations cadre since then and as many as 111 officers have been promoted in various cadres of the DGCA since the sanction of new posts in August 2022.
“For direct recruitment, three operations officers have been selected by the UPSC and a proposal for recruitment of 51 AD (operations) is under process. The recruitment rules for the position of DDG (Deputy Director General) are under revision.
”Besides, DDG is an ex-cadre post and shortage of DDGs does not impact the processing of applications, as the competent authority for approval of licenses is the Director,” the statement said.
Regarding the process of licensing for the Air Traffic Controllers and Aerodromes, the ministry said the time taken in approval of applications also includes the time taken by the applicant to respond to the shortfalls raised by the DGCA officers.
”The indicative timelines published for the issue of ATCO Licenses by the DGCA is 20 working days. Against this, the average time taken in 2023, so far, is 14.5 days.
”As laid down in the Civil Aviation Requirement, the minimum period required for processing may be about three months from the date a complete application along with aerodrome manual is received by the DGCA.
”This period of three months may exceed in case the applicant is not able to resolve the observations/ issues satisfactorily,” it said.
With respect to licences for drone flying training institutes, the DGCA said that Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) are self-generated by the applicant/manufacturer through Digital Sky Platform and Remote Pilot Certificates are issued by DGCA authorised RPTO through Digital Sky Platform.
”The timeline to issue an authorisation to an applicant to establish a Remote Pilot Training Organisation (RPTO) has been prescribed in the rules to be within 60 days of the submission of the application,” the statement said.
”While the applications where prompt compliances are ensured by the applicants are approved faster, some applications take more time as the applicants are not able to adhere to the laid-down compliances,” it added.
According to the statement, as on date, 25 applications are in process with the DGCA.
”7 applications have crossed the threshold of 60 days, of which in five cases applicants are yet to respond to the DGCA observations. In the remaining two cases, approvals are expected to be granted by the end of the month provided all requirements are complied with. Remaining applications are within the prescribed timelines and are under process,” the statement said.