On April 8, 2015, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials announced during a meeting in New Delhi with India’s Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju that India has again achieved a Category 1 rating under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. The IASA Category 1 rating means that India’s civil aviation authority once again fully complies with the safety oversight standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ technical agency for international civil aviation. India had previously been rated by the FAA as a Category 1 country in August 1997 but was downgraded to Category 2 in 2012 after an FAA audit identified certain safety oversight deficiencies.

By upgrading India to Category 1 status, the FAA found that India’s civil aviation authority meets ICAO safety oversight criteria related to the following eight categories: 1) primary aviation legislation, 2) specific operating regulations, 3) organization structure and safety oversight functions, 4) technical personnel qualification and training, 5) technical guidance, 6) structure and safety oversight functions, 7) surveillance obligations, and 8) resolution safety issues. India’s downgrade to Category 2 status in 2012 resulted from the FAA’s finding that the country did not meet all ICAO safety criteria. The FAA’s IASA ratings are not specific to any particular airline, but rather focus on the ability of India’s civil aviation authorities to oversee the operational safety of Indian airlines as a whole.

As a result of the Category 1 designation, air carriers from India currently serving the United States will be allowed to operate additional flights, Indian air carriers planning to begin operating air service to/from the United States for the first time will be able to do so, and U.S. air carriers will be able to further develop their codeshare relationships with air carriers of India by displaying their airline designator code on flights operated by Indian air carriers, all subject to authorizations from DOT and the FAA.