The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has taken up necessary steps to upgrade its compliance rate up to 70 per cent to face the audit team from International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) due in September this year, officials claimed.
The ICAO team conducted its audit on CAAB in 2012 when the compliance rate was 50 per cent. The team will again conduct the audit from 12-19 September.
“They (ICAO) had three main observations — legislation, organogram and trained manpower. One legislation has been completed in February, the second one will be passed this month or early next month,” said CAAB flight safety and regulations director Wing Commander Ziaul Kabir.
He said the first phase of organogram of 128 people will be approved within a month and the rest 100 will be given by 2018.
“By 2019, we will be at par the world standard after we get 228 people as per the organogram. Now we have 61 personnel in this department, which is less than half the demand,” he added.
Regarding the training process to meet the issue of trained manpower, Mr Kabir said it was going on. “We’re arranging training with support from ICAO and European Aviation Safety Association (EASA). Besides, we have been arranging for free training and working on detailed issues.”
Over the past five years, CAAB even could not comply 100 per cent. Despite all the efforts to comply with the ICAO observations by CAAB, the security system of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) has only been ranked negatively and declared faulty resulting in cargo embargo by Australia, UK, Germany and latest European Union (EU) over the last one year.
Although, a British security company Redline was engaged for two years to improve the overall security system of the country’s major international airport, the situation has apparently deteriorated.
The core problem at the HSIA remains the lack of proper bomb detection dogs and equipment before cargo is loaded on to planes. The ministry claimed that it was not informed about the EU ban before it came.
When asked for his comment, former civil aviation minister Faruk Khan said that he was unaware of the claim of 70 per cent compliance rate by CAAB. To him, the achievement is not satisfactory and the safety issue should be the highest priority.
The ICAO observations must be fulfilled to qualify for operating Bangladeshi flights to USA, he added. “We’ve problems with the bureaucracy and lack of efficiency and activities. That’s why the progress is slow.”
He suggested quick implementation of all the ICAO conditions to meet their standard in operating airlines and airport related activities.
Regarding the cargo ban, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the civil aviation ministry said that two issues work here – one is the weakness of CAAB authority and the other is international politics to create pressure on Bangladesh.
Regarding engagement of Redline, a security company, Faruk Khan said it was the duty of the Bangladeshi employees and authorities to apply whatever Redline has taught them.
“Installation of a machine will not be enough if the man behind it is not responsible. We should be more disciplined and follow proper rules and regulations,” he said.
Former civil aviation minister GM Kader said the situation has somehow degraded over the time despite so many efforts by CAAB. It might be due to fall of overall governance system in every sector, he added.
“We are losing grip of the situation over the years. But airlines safety is such issue where there should not be any compromise,” he said.
In their observations, ICAO said ‘due to lack of control of generated income, insufficient resources, and qualified personnel staffing, the present CAA structure is not adequate for the state of Bangladesh to fulfil its safety oversight obligations in accordance with ICAO standards.’
Also ‘shortage of regulatory staff have been identified in all audited areas, affecting skills and capabilities of the CAAB to carry out critical safety oversight functions’.