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India received its highest ever rank on the ICAO aviation safety ranking, DGCA chief Arun Kumar informed on Sunday. Kumar in his announcement stated that the new challenge is to maintain and further improve the air safety ecosystem. In the latest rankings by the Indian Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), India's position has jumped to the 48th place from 102nd spot in 2018.

The ranking, which also places it ahead of China (49), is the highest ever received by India, according to DGCA officials.

The statements come at a time when the aviation sector of India is jumping back to normalcy following a two year lull owing to the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdown. 

 "A robust safety oversight system certified and acknowledged by the experts is sine qua non for flight safety and very assuring for the flying public... The DGCA team has worked tirelessly to strengthen aviation safety. Now, we are on a peak and so the challenge is to maintain and improve further," DGCA chief Arun Kumar told news agency PTI on Sunday.

The rankings are for 187 countries and assessments were done at different points of time. Under its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach, an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) was undertaken from 9 to 16 November. 

With a score of 85.49 per cent each, India and Georgia are at the 48th position. Neighbouring Pakistan's score is 70.39 per cent. The rankings are topped by Singapore with a score of 99.69 per cent. It is followed by the UAE at the second position with a score of 98.8 per cent and the Republic of Korea is at the third place (98.24 per cent).

Others in the top ten are France (4th; 96.42 per cent), Iceland (5th; 95.73 per cent), Australia (6th; 95.04 per cent), Canada (7th; 94.95 per cent), Brazil (8th; 94.72 per cent), Ireland (9th; 94.6 per cent) and Chile (10th; 93.9 per cent), as per the DGCA officials. 

The ICAO looks at eight critical elements of the safety oversight system, including primary aviation legislation, specific operating regulations, resolution of safety issues and surveillance obligations. 

In July, against the backdrop of various technical snags faced by domestic airlines, the DGCA chief had said they did not have the potential to cause havoc and that the country's civil aviation space was "absolutely safe" and all the protocols laid down by the ICAO were followed. 

(With PTI inputs)

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