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Air India fined INR 80 Lakh by DGCA for Breaking Fatigue Rules

Air India has been fined INR 80 lakhs by the aviation safety regulator for breaching regulations aimed at averting pilot and crew fatigue.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took this action following a surprise audit of the Tata group’s leading airline in January to ensure adherence to flight duty time limitations (FDTL) and the fatigue management system (FMS).

These regulations are crucial for mitigating crew fatigue, which poses significant risks to flight safety and can adversely affect crew health.

“The analysis of reports and evidences revealed that M/s Air India Limited operated flights with both flight crew members aged above 60 years flying together in few instances, which is a violation of Sub Rule (2) of Rule 28 A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937,” the DGCA said in a statement.

According to the regulator, Air India was also found deficient in providing adequate weekly rest, sufficient rest before and after ultra-long range flights, and enough rest on layover to flight crew. All such findings were found to be in violation of the provisions of the Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs) pertaining to FDTL. Additionally, the spot audit also revealed instances of exceeding duty periods, wrongly overlapping duties, among other violations.

Flight crew fatigue and exhaustion are seen as major factors contributing to human errors in aircraft operations, which can lead to catastrophic accidents. Therefore, FDTL regulations are considered important globally. In India, the DGCA oversees FDTL compliance. The regulator has already announced changes to FDTL norms in a bid to make the regulations more crew-friendly. The new rules, which are set to take effect from June, have increased mandatory weekly rest periods, extension of night duty hours, and fewer night landings as compared to current norms. (Source :The Indian Express)

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