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DGCA raises weekly rest period to 48 hrs to address fatigue issue of flight crew

DGCA also cut the maximum flight duty period to 10 hours from 13 hours for pilots working nights and limited the number of flight landings to two, from six, during night operations.

Plane PTINEW DELHI: To address fatigue among pilots and crew, country’s aviation regulator DGCA has increased the mandatory weekly rest period for flight crew to 48 hours from the previous 36 hours.

DGCA also cut the maximum flight duty period to 10 hours from 13 hours for pilots working nights and limited the number of flight landings to two, from six, during night operations. The revised Flight Duty Time Limitations (FDTL) norms for the flight crew are coming at a time when there are rising concerns about pilot fatigue, especially after a spate of pilot deaths last year. The airline operators are required to comply with the revised regulations latest by June 1.

“After in-depth analysis of pilot rosters, fatigue-related reports and feedback from pilots, we have introduced revised ‘FDTL Regulations’ that include increased rest periods, redefining night duty, and regular fatigue reports to be shared by airlines,” said civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

“In addition, we will soon transition towards a new regime of fatigue management i.e. Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS), which will be a data-driven approach to enhance monitoring of flight crew fatigue,” added Scindia.

The airlines have been asked to compulsorily submit quarterly fatigue reports, which “should follow a non-punitive and confidentiality policy”. The amended norms said that increased weekly rest periods to 48 hours from 36 hours earlier for the flight crew to ensure “sufficient time for recovery from cumulative fatigue”.

Regarding the night hour extension, the statement said the enhancement of one hour during the early morning will ensure adequate rest and also align the night duty period, which encompasses Window of Circadian Low (WOCL) from 0200-0600 hours. The revised regulations have also taken into consideration different types of operations across time zones.

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