HC directs DGCA to specify minimum, maximum flying hours for pilots

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New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to specify the maximum and minimum flying hours and prescribe the flight and duty time limitation (FDTL).

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar gave the order while disposing off a plea on “deliberate variations” in the FDTL of pilots that resulted in fatigue.

The court said that the DGCA is bound to comply with the provisions of the Aviation Act and Rules thereunder so far as the issue of fatigue in pilots was concerned and to specify the maximum and minimum flying hours.

The plea was filed by Kerala resident Yeshwanth Shenoy who alleged that the DGCA norm on FDTL was violative of rules, as it allowed air operators to stretch the duty hours of pilots.

The maximum prescribed limit for pilots is eight hours of flight time and six landings per day, but it was being flouted under the regulator’s watch, Shenoy told the court.

Many airline accidents had occurred due to pilot fatigue, the plea said, adding that “one of the contributing factors to the Mangalore air crash (of May 2010 that killed 152 people) was pilot fatigue”.

The petitioner sought a direction to the DGCA to reframe the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on FDTL for flight crew by involving stakeholders and taking into consideration the international best practices.



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