Aviation regulator DGCA has proposed various changes in the rules related to duty hours of flight crew members. In recent times, the issue of fatigue among pilots has come to the fore, especially after the death of an IndiGo pilot who collapsed at the boarding gate of Nagpur airport.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has proposed a continuous weekly rest of 48 hours and reduced the flight duty period to 10 hours for pilots operating flights at night. Additionally, operational heads of scheduled airlines will have to submit a quarterly report to the DGCA on fatigue reports received and action taken during the previous quarter, as per the draft norms.
"An operator must ensure that a minimum weekly rest of 48 hours including two local nights is provided consecutively so that not more than 168 hours elapse between the end of one weekly rest period and the beginning of the next," the proposal states. . Currently, the rest period is 36 hours.
Changes to the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) relating to 'Duty Period, Flight Duty Period, Flight Time Limits and Scheduled Rest Periods - Flight Crew engaged in Scheduled Air Transport Operations' have been proposed by DGCA and the draft has been published on 4 December. Comments have been sought till date.
India is one of the fastest growing civil aviation markets and the need for pilots will further increase in the times to come as airlines place large aircraft orders as part of plans to expand their operations.