To address fatigue and health issues among pilots and cabin crew, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Friday released a draft of the revised duty period, flight duty period, flight time limitations and prescribed rest periods for flight crew engaged in scheduled air transport operations. According to the proposed rules which have been opened for public consultation, DGCA proposed to cut down the maximum flight duty period from 13 to 10 hours for a pilot operating at night that is between 12 AM and 6 AM. The present flight duty time limitation (FDTL) norms do not differentiate between day and night flights and allow pilots to be on duty for 13 hours within a 24-hour span.
The proposed draft reads that fatigue reports shall be used as an effective tool in identifying and mitigating crew fatigue. Each Operator shall establish a clear policy with respect to fatigue reports. The policy should state not only ‘how to raise’ a report but also ‘what to do’ in response to a fatigue report. Executive responsibility for addressing fatigue management shall be defined by the operator.All the fatigue reports and the Action Taken reports shall be preserved by the operator for a period of a minimum of one year and be made available to the DGCA as and when required.
Head of Operations will submit a quarterly report to the DGCA on the fatigue reports received and action taken during the preceding quarter, it reads. A senior DGCA official said that they have worked with all airlines, pilots and cabin crew members before preparing the draft to reduce fatigue.
“We have got lot of suggestions from airlines and pilots while preparing the draft. It has been issued for public comment. It will soon be implemented after following due procedure,” said the official. The DGCA had started a review of pilot fatigue data after the sudden death of IndiGo pilot who fell unconscious while on duty on August 17 at Nagpur airport and passed away. There were many others complaints where flight got delayed as pilot refused to fly due to fatigue and overloaded work.