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Pilots Union advocates enforcement of updated Flight Duty Time Limitations


The Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP) is calling for the immediate enforcement of updated Flight Duty Time Limitations (FDTL) to ensure passenger safety. In a letter addressed to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the FIP emphasises that pilot well-being should not be compromised for commercial interests.

Dated March 28, the letter urges Minister Scindia to intervene and uphold the implementation of the revised regulations, as initially announced. However, the recent decision by the DGCA to defer the implementation of the updated duty time limits for aircrew has sparked further concern among the pilots’ union.

The FIP, along with other pilot unions such as the Air India Pilots’ Union, the Indian Pilots’ Guild, and the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Guild, had previously petitioned the Delhi High Court regarding duty timings. Despite revised civil aviation regulations (CAR) being submitted in court, the DGCA’s postponement of implementation has left pilots frustrated.

According to the FIP, the DGCA neglected to adequately consult with stakeholders, including pilots themselves, before making these changes. Despite assurances from the aviation minister in January about the reforms being based on thorough analysis and international best practices, the DGCA opted to defer implementation without consulting stakeholders.

The updated duty-rest period regulations aimed to mitigate fatigue-related aviation risks among cockpit crews. However, after the publication of the revised FDTL, the Federation of Indian Airlines, representing Indian carriers, requested a deferment of the new norms following a meeting with the DGCA.

The FIP expresses disappointment that the DGCA disregarded their representations and issued a revised version of the CAR on March 26. This revision effectively grants operators discretionary powers instead of mandating the implementation of the revised CAR before June 1.

The FIP asserts that the latest move by the DGCA not only endangers pilot safety but also compromises passenger safety. They emphasise the critical importance of implementing the revised CAR to mitigate such risks effectively.

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