Civil Aviation Authority of Mauritius: Putting an onus on safety and smooth airline operations

Commercial airliner in flight over a cloud covered background.

Commercial airliner in flight over a cloud covered background.

To many, Mauritius embodies the iconic image of blissful island life and the perfect getaway destination. It comes as little surprise that the island has built a strong economy from tourism, relying heavily on an efficient air craft industry to transport its many visitors each year.

Aircraft travelling to and from the island, report to the Department of Civil Aviation of Mauritius (DCA), an organisation operating to international standards and ensuring safety and organisation.

“Our Vision is to be recognised as the best regulator of civil aviation and the best provider of air navigation services in the region.

“Our Mission is: to foster the development of safe, secure, regular and efficient civil aviation operations; to regulate and promote civil aviation activities in Mauritius; to provide safe and efficient air navigation services within our airspace; and, to serve the interests of the Mauritian community at large,” the DCA states in its Charter.

Mauritius has a comprehensive Civil Aviation Act derived from the UK Civil Aviation Act. The Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) is the Authority in charge of all the licensing and regulatory functions. The Mauritian DCA maintains excellent relations with major Airworthiness Authorities (UK CAA, FAA, French DGCA, etc.) and enjoys a reputation for maintaining consistently high standards.

The Department has released its own Charter, which defines its role as follows:

“The DCA is a Government Department within the Ministry of Tourism, Leisure and External Communications and plays a leading role in the development of the aviation industry in Mauritius through the safety regulation of the Mauritian civil aviation and by providing air navigation services in the Mauritian airspace in compliance with the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of the ICAO. The DCA is the regulatory body of the Government on matters pertaining to civil aviation; its specific responsibilities are enshrined mainly in the Civil Aviation Act of 1974 and the Civil Aviation Regulations of 1986 and include amongst others:

  • issuance of air operator certificate, registration of aircraft, airworthiness of aircraft and licensing of personnel;
  • certification and licensing of aerodromes;
  • provision of air navigation services; and
  • aviation security and facilitation.”

According to the organisation’s official website, the objectives of the Department of Civil Aviation are:

“To set civil aviation standards for Mauritius which meet, or exceed, the requirements of the ICAO Annexes and ensure legislation is enacted to give effect to the standards;

“To ensure that the certification and continued airworthiness aspects of aircraft and engines achieve the set safety standards;

“To ensure that Mauritian aircraft operations and approved maintenance organisations achieve the set safety standards;

“To ensure that flight crew, aircraft maintenance engineers and air traffic services staff are fit and qualified for their task;

“To ensure that the International Airport, and any other aerodromes which may be licensed, meet the requirements of the aerodrome licence and are safe for use;

“To provide the link between ICAO and the Government on issues of aviation security, and ensure that aviation security is given high priority in the organisation of civil aviation;

“To plan, provide and operate safe, orderly and expeditious air traffic services, including the provision of search and rescue co-ordination, in order to meet the set safety standard at minimum effective cost to customers;

“To establish a formal system for the reporting and investigation of accidents and serious incidents, disseminating the information as appropriate;

“To establish financial systems which enable the identification of the real cost of, and the true income earned by, the Department as a first step towards establishing the viability of an independent civil aviation authority;

“To advise the Government on civil aviation matters, including the provision of aviation statistical information for Government planning purposes;

“And, to develop, implement and maintain a plan for the continuing professional development of the Department’s staff in support of the above objectives.”

DCA’s Charter further explains its key functions: “The purpose of this Charter is to provide information concerning the various services which the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is required to provide to its customers. Our customers are mainly aircraft operating within the airspace under the jurisdiction of Mauritius as assigned by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.(ICAO) and other organisations and persons who are required to obtain certificates, licenses and permits to enable them to discharge their responsibilities in the aviation or aviation related industry.

“It is the duty and responsibility of the DCA to provide a safe and secure environment and an expeditious service to its customers at all times.

“The DCA will continue to upgrade its services, modernise its equipment and facilities to ensure that its aims and objectives are achieved. In order to help us to further improve our performance, your constructive criticism is most welcome and we would like to assure you that these will be treated with utmost respect and confidentiality.

“The functions can be classified into two main sections. We are the regulator of the aviation industry in Mauritius and we provide Air Navigation Services within the airspace under the jurisdiction of Mauritius.”

New generation aircraft such as the Airbus A340 and Boeing 747-400 operate from Mauritius on a daily basis. Air Mauritius, the national airline, has enjoyed a phenomenal growth and is one of the few airlines that have been consistently profitable over the last decade.

That success is reflected in passenger footfall in Mauritius, putting an ever-increasing significance on the role of the DCA.