Cablegate: Faa Presses Got On Air Safety Oversight
160856Z Dec 04
UNCLAS ANKARA 006982
DEPT FOR EB/TRA/OTP-BMATTINGLEY AND EUR/SE
PARIS FOR TSA
BRUSSELS FOR FAA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR TU
SUBJECT: FAA PRESSES GOT ON AIR SAFETY OVERSIGHT
Ref: BRUSSELS BE 4914
Sensitive But Unclassified. Please Handle Accordingly.
1. (SBU) In December 7 meetings with Transport and
Communications Ministry officials, John Barbagallo, FAA
Technical Branch Manager, and Kurt Edwards, Senior
Representative, urged the Turks to take steps to cut
turnover of air safety inspectors, a key U.S. concern
with respect to Turkish civil aviation oversight. FAA
also reiterated its standing offer to provide training
once the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)
builds a sufficient cadre of experienced inspectors.
2. (SBU) Director General of Civil Aviation Topa Toker
and Director of Flight Standards Haydar Yalcin told us
that the Transport and Communications Minister and
other interested ministries supported draft legislation
designed to address this problem. At the time of the
meeting, the Prime Ministry was reviewing the bill.
Toker told us the goal was for the GOT to submit the
legislation to parliament in mid-December.
3. (SBU) The key benefit of the bill is that it would
permit DGCA to increase hiring as well as salaries.
Inspectors currently earn a tiny fraction of the
salaries on offer in the private sector, which is
currently experiencing rapid growth. Under the bill,
DGCA would remain under the authority of the Transport
Minister, but with financial autonomy. Toker told us
that he would have preferred legislation removing DGCA
from the Ministry altogether, but that the arrangement
contemplated by legislation was still a great
improvement over the current situation. Yalcin
predicted that if, as expected, parliament acts
relatively quickly, DGCA would need several months to
reorganize and would then be able to send inspectors to
training in the second half of 2005.
4. (SBU) In a separate meeting, Acting Transport and
Communications Undersecretary Mehmet Kutlu made similar
points. Kutlu explained that, despite strong
ministerial support for the legislation, it had been
held up until parliament passed a public sector reform
law earlier in 2004. The current bill would enable
hiring of foreign oversight staff, and allow DGCA to
offer salaries about twice as high as those paid to
equivalent civil service employees. Kutlu told us that
the Ministry would hire 27 new staff in connection with
the EU accession process and could make some of those
new positions available to DGCA to strengthen aviation
oversight. Kutlu emphasized that Turkish Airlines is
maintaining high standards in aircraft maintenance and
5. (U) Embassy will follow up with DGCA and MFA
officials on this legislation.
6. (U) FAA Senior Representative cleared this message.