The US Federal Aviation Authority has downgraded Indian aviation safety following an audit which revealed deficiencies in oversight.
“A black day in India’s aviation history,” is how local newspaper the Business Standard described the US move.
A downgrade to Category 2 places Indian aviation in the same situation as Philippine Airlines.
It means that codesharing between US carriers and their Indian counterparts will be forbidden. And, crucially, the two Indian carriers serving the US — Air India and Jet Airways — cannot expand their services there.
US carrier United was quick off the mark and has already cancelled its codeshare agreement with Jet Airways.
Media reports say that United’s decision will impact on Jet Airways. The Mumbai-based carrier is believed to earn no less than 15 per cent of its revenue from interline (the switching of passengers from one carrier to another) and codeshare sales.
It is unclear whether or not the FAA’s move will affect the launch of the future Etihad service linking Abu Dhabi with New York, which will be operated by a B777-300ER leased from Jet Airways.
The European Union, whose aviation bodies operate independently of the US, will discuss the situation at a meeting next month according to the Business Standard.