DGCA Current Affairs - 2020

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Dunzo, Throttle get DGCA nod to test long-range drones

Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA), India’s civil aviation authority has given approval to the applications of Google-backed hyperlocal delivery startup Dunzo and Bengaluru-based drone maker Throttle Aerospace Systems to test long-range and autonomous drone use. The long range drones can significantly enhance logistic services in Indian hinterland and may become a significant multiplier to the economy. Although DGCA is still in process of approving BVLOS experiments, but these two companies have been selected and are awaiting signed letters.

Key Highlights

The approvals are a part of the DGCA’s experimental programme, called beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations, which was notified in May 2019. The BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring (BEAM) Committee will be responsible for overseeing the evidence collected on use of drones and their safety aspects as well as submitting findings before Centre Government frames laws for long-range and autonomous drone use.

The two companies- Dunzo and Throttle Aerospace are likely to begin experimental drone flights from mid-to late February 2020 and have identified airspaces outside of Bengaluru. The test flights are meant to evaluate safety and robustness of the solutions. As per the programme requirements, both companies will have to each clock 100 hours of drone flights before submitting the proof of concept to DGCA.

Throttle Aerospace: It is looking to build drone based delivery solutions which can be scaled up in size and complexity. One of goal of company is to build a drone-based organ transport solution which could cut down the time of transporting organs from a few hours to a few minutes.

Dunzo: It is looking at drone deliveries to stand out among its bigger rivals like food delivery app Swiggy, Zomato which has expanded its services to include doorstep deliveries of items like groceries, medicines and flowers.

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Cabinet approves Aircraft (amendment) bill, 2019

The Union Cabinet on December 11, 2019 approved Aircraft (Amendment) bill, 2019 to amend the Aircrafts act, 1934. The main objective of the bill is to fulfill the safety requirements of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Key Features of the Bill

The Bill intends to regulate the areas of air navigation. It enhances the punishment from 10 lakh rupees to 1 crore rupees for those failing to comply norms of Government of India. Also, the bill will enable three regulatory bodies namely Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).

It will increase safety and security of air transport in the country.

Need

In 2018, the ICAO, a global aviation watchdog of the United Nations carried out a Universal Safety Audit Programme for India. The audit showed that the safety score of India declined to 57.44% in 2018 from 65.82% in 2017. The score was far less than Nepal and Pakistan. The audit was performed in air navigation services, aerodromes, aircraft accidents and investigations, ground aids, etc.

The world average score for aircraft safety set by ICAO is 65%. India’s score is far below the world average. With the successful implementation of UDAN scheme, the aircraft carriers and operators have increased. Therefore, it is mandatory to imply strict regulations to keep up the safety of the passengers.

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