New Delhi: Faced with the shortage of air safety experts and funding issues, India today mooted the idea of pooling of safety regulators for the South Asian region. At a meeting of cooperative development of operational safety and continuing airworthiness programme for South Asia, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey also asked countries to take advantage of GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system developed by India.

“The manpower that we get is the same that is available to the private sector…(So) the challenge (before us) is how to recruit and retain the manpower. Can we think of preparing a panel of safety regulators which is available to all the the member states in the region?” Choubey suggested. He expressed hope that the participating members would deliberate on his suggestion going forward.

Terming manpower crunch as one of the challenges in the area of air safety, Choubey said pooling of such resources would help in meeting the shortage of this specialised manpower.

Choubey said India has offered the services of GAGAN to some of the countries and was negotiating with them in this regard. GAGAN provides augmentation service for GPS over the country, Bay of Bengal, South East Asia and Middle East expanding up to Africa.

India is among the three countries in the world to have this kind of navigation system. Jointly developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) and launched in July this year, at an investment of Rs 774 crore, the new system offers seamless navigation to the aviation industry.

The benefits of GAGAN include improved efficiency, direct routes, increased fuel savings, approach with vertical guidance at runways, significant cost savings due to withdrawal of ground aids and reduced workload of flight crew and Air Traffic Controllers.

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