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DGCA seeks airlines’ timeline on new crew rules implementation


The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked all scheduled airlines on Wednesday to provide a timeline for implementing revised flight duty time rules for crew members, days after deferring the implementation of rules that would have increased rest duration for pilots.

The new rules mandated pilots be given a 48-hour break at the end of each week, up from the current 36 hours. (HT File Photo)

The move came after the Delhi high court asked the DGCA on April 1 to indicate a tentative implementation date for the revised norms in its next hearing.

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In a letter seen by HT, the DGCA said, “In light of the observations made by the Hon’ble Court during the aforesaid hearing, you may kindly indicate the timeline required to prepare a roadmap for implementation of the revised FDTL (Flight Duty Time Limitation) norms and the timeline for subsequent implementation of the same.”

The regulator announced on January 8 that revised FDTL rules would take effect June 1 but deferred them on March 26, upsetting crew members and industry experts. Officials aware of the matter said at the time that the decision followed pushback from The DGCA had earlier said the revised rules were on par with international safety standards.

The new rules mandated pilots be given a 48-hour break at the end of each week, up from the current 36 hours, and cap maximum flight duty hours at 10 hours for pilots working night operations, down from the existing 13 hours. The definition of night duty was also expanded by an hour, now at 6 am instead of midnight.

While pilots welcomed the new norms, airlines expressed concerns, claiming they would require 20% more pilots to implement the revised rules.

The DGCA said connected cases challenging the Civil Aviation Rule on FDTL were heard by Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain in the Delhi High Court on April 1.

“After hearing the arguments of the parties to the case, hon’ble Justice SK Jain orally mentioned that on the next date of hearing, i.e. 08.05.2024, DGCA should indicate the tentative date for implementation of the 2024 FDTL CAR,” the letter stated.

One pilot called the court’s direction a “victory for all the pilots and a much-needed change in the industry,” while another said, “The new FDTL rules need to be implemented as soon as possible for the mental well-being of the crew. We hope that they will now be implemented soon.”



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