DGCA Introduces New Rules To Tackle Pilot Fatigue; Proposes To Limit Work Hours

by Tejashee Kashyap
DGCA Introduces New Rules To Tackle Pilot Fatigue; Proposes To Limit Work Hours

Pilots play a vital role in the safety and efficiency of air travel. However, the demanding nature of their profession, characterised by irregular work hours, long flights, and time zone changes, can lead to significant fatigue-related concerns. Now, the Civil Aviation Administration DGCA has suggested significant revisions to its guidelines that will ensure pilots get more rest and limit the number of hours they work in the cockpit at night.

DGCA Revises New Rules For Pilots For Adequate Rest

Image Credits: Canva

To address fatigue and health issues among pilots and cabin crew, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation released a draft. This is in view of the flight duty period, flight time constraints, and prescribed rest intervals for flight crew involved in scheduled air transport operations on Friday.

The regulator took action in response to many pilot allegations. This included that airlines were exploiting its lax regulations to force them to work beyond the parameters and break the rules. According to ET, there was an incident just minutes before the flight took off in August. An IndiGo pilot passed away at the Nagpur airport from a sudden cardiac arrest.

The regulator has reduced the maximum flying duty length for a pilot working at night. This is between 12 AM and 6 AM, from 13 to 10 hours. According to the proposed rules, they are now up for public comment. A pilot is only allowed to make two landings in that time, according to the DGCA.

The DGCA has limited the maximum flight duration for flights longer than 14 hours to 17 hours. Additionally, it has requested that airlines provide at least 120 hours of rest following each journey. The duration of rest will be extended by a full day following two consecutive ultra-long distance (ULR) flights.

Due to slot constraints at urban airports, the frequency of red-eye flights—which take out at night and arrive the following morning—has increased exponentially during the past few years.

Also Read: DGCA Has Put 166 Passengers On ‘No-Fly List’ Since 2021; Here’s What Lands A Flyer On The List

Impact Of Pilot Work Hours On Fatigue

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When pilots experience fatigue, their decision-making abilities, alertness, and cognitive function are impaired. This can have severe consequences for aviation safety.

According to the article of ET, senior pilots commented that the new regulations are a more developed version of the current ones. In order to ensure that the regulations are applicable to new scenarios arising in contemporary aviation, senior DGCA officials have conducted extensive consultations with pilots and airlines.

Recognising the dangers of pilot fatigue, aviation authorities have implemented regulations and safety measures to address the issue. In order to determine if laws pertaining to flying duty hours or pilot exhaustion need to be modified, the DGCA has been gathering data on pilot weariness over the past four months through spot checks and airline monitoring.

What do you think of these new pilot work hours set by DGCA?

Cover image credits: Canva

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