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US regulator upgrades India's aviation safety rating
[NEW DELHI] The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has upgraded India's aviation safety rating, in a boost for Indian airlines which can now increase the number of flights they operate to the United States.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement on Wednesday that India had taken corrective action to address the FAA's concerns after the aviation regulator downgraded India's rating to category 2 from category 1 in January last year, citing a lack of safety oversight.
The decision, which takes the rating back to category 1, was not unexpected as India's aviation authorities have said they were working hard to win back the higher rating.
The upgraded rating is expected to help Jet Airways and state-owned Air India, the two Indian airlines which currently fly to the United States. The downgrade had meant both carriers could not increase flights to the United States and faced extra checks for existing ones.
"The United States Government commends the Government of India for taking corrective action to address the safety oversight issues identified during the IASA (International Aviation Safety Assessment) process," Foxx said in the statement.
Shares in Jet were down 2.3 per cent at 0748 GMT against a 0.6 per cent rise in the benchmark index.
The move comes amid heightened recent scrutiny on aviation safety in Asia. South Korea, Japan and China last month stopped Thailand-based airlines from flying charters and new routes because of safety concerns highlighted by an international audit. The restrictions, though, have been selectively relaxed.