Section 7 of the Aircraft Act 1934 empowers the Government of India to make rules for investigation of accidents arising out of or in the course of the navigation in or over India of any aircraft, or anywhere of aircraft registered in India. As per the Act and in conformity with Article 26 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, earlier the Air Safety Directorate of DGCA was carrying out the duties and responsibilities regarding investigation of aircraft accident and incidents. This was governed by the Aircraft Rules 1937.
In accordance with Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and to provide independence of investigation function from the regulatory function, the Government of India decided to establish a Bureau independent of the DGCA.
Based on ICAO SARPs and the Indian Civil Aviation scenario in mind, the Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Rules, 2012 were formulated and notified through a Gazette Notification. In accordance with these Rules and for the purposes of carrying out investigation into accidents, serious incidents and incidents; the Government of India set up a Bureau in the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 30th July 2012, known as the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of India.
In accordance with ICAO Annex 13, Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Rules 2012 were amended in 2017 and AAIB was designated as an “Attached Office” of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Presently, Investigation work is being carried out as per amended Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Rules 2017 read with the Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Amendment rules, 2021. AAIB has been mandated for immediate and unrestricted access to all relevant evidence from any agency / organisation without seeking prior consent from judicial bodies or other Government authorities.