Flight from fatigue: On the DGCA and flight duty time limitation norms

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Infrastructure, Issue: Infrastructure-Airports

Context: The revised Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)

  • The DGCA has allowed airlines to operate under older regulations until their new schemes are approved.
  • Earlier in January DGCA updated flight duty time limitations (FDTL) to address fatigue issues in the aviation industry.
  • These changes included more rest time for pilots, redefining night duty, and requiring airlines to report fatigue regularly.

Reasons behind postponement:

  • Indian airlines federation sought postponement of new rules, citing potential need for more pilots and up to 20% flight cancellations.

Concerns:

  • DGCA’s decision to relax regulations could perpetuate pilot fatigue.
  • Indian aviation market, amidst pilot shortage, experiences high growth, leading to stress on flight crews.
  • Ultra-long-haul flights, including more wide body aircraft, contribute to crew stress.

The way ahead:

DGCA must enforce regulatory norms aligned with top safety standards for the well-being of flight crews and passengers.

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