US airline inspectors arrive in Belgrade

US airline inspectors arrive in Belgrade

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors arrived in Belgrade on Monday to see if Serbia meets the requirements of Category 1 of the FAA, which would allow direct flights to the US, the Ministry of Transport has told Tanjug.

Assistant minister for air traffic Milutin Popovic said Serbia was ready to receive Category 1 again and added that he expected the inspection to have a positive outcome.

"The FAA inspectors will be in Serbia for 7 days and in that time they will visit the Civil Aviation Directorate, the Belgrade airport Nikola Tesla and meet with officials of the Transport Ministry. They will verify that our regulations are in line with those in Europe and the US, and aviation safety will be one of the key focus points," Popovic stated.

Serbian airlines have not been allowed to fly to the US since 2004, because of faults with regulations, the organization of the aviation authority and differences between the Serbian and US aviation standards and procedure.

A team of inspectors from the FAA conducted a preliminary inspection in February 2013 and reported a very high level of harmonization with the ICAO standards and US regulations, but they also noticed some shortcomings, which is why the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate was told to corret them and then send an invitation for the final inspection.

One of the biggest obstacles listed by the US team was the non-existence of an independent commission for investigation of aviation accidents, which is why it was decided to form a special body this year that would be separate from the directorate.