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DGCA asks airlines to frame SOP for No Destination Alternate safety

To ensure safe flight operations with no other destination, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has requested that all aircraft operators create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for commercial flight operations. According to the DGCA’s February 20 circular, operators must create SOPs specific to each aerodrome, train flight operations staff on them, and have the SOPs certified by the DGCA in order to ensure safe flying procedures without a backup destination, reports Zee News.

It further reads that the international air transport industry must continuously adapt to new trends and increasingly competitive market conditions in a rapidly changing global economy.

“While technological improvements in aviation continue to increase reliability and predictability, economic and environmental concerns will continue to compel operators to use fuel more efficiently. Consequently, all operators, including those leveraging existing technologies and those investing in new technologies to meet operational challenges, should be afforded the opportunity to receive a return on their investments,” the circular from DGCA read.

“This circular aims to provide extended guidance material necessary to support the implementation of policy to operate flights with no destination alternate in compliance with CAR Section 8 Series O Part II,” it read further.
DGCA has suggested certain guidelines to formulate SOP for flights with No Destination Alternate, it says that the operators shall establish a laid down procedure for each aerodrome as approved by DGCA in order to undertake flights with No Destination Alternate. DGCA in the circular also said that the procedure is only applicable to destinations with more than one independent runway.

“At least one runway should be available with an instrument approach procedure. The airport operator should specify change over time from the primary runway to the secondary runway. The operator should have signed MoU with each aerodrome where they intend to undertake a flight with No Destination Alternate.

All the possible non-normal scenarios and contingency plans shall be discussed at the organizational level and shall be shared with the personals involved. All the personnel involved shall be trained prior to undertaking flight operations with No Destination Alternate (NDA),” it read.

“Operators involved in Ultra long-range (ULR) flight operations may look into No Destination Alternate in conjunction with re-clearance flight planning in order to undertake flight operations with NDA flight. Also, necessary approval shall be taken from the local regulator along with each aerodrome. The decision to commence or continue the flight with “No Destination Alternate” lies entirely with the Pilot In Command (PIC). If circumstances so dictate, the flight will be dispatched with a Destination Alternate,” it read further.

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