Friday, November 25, 2016

Pilots Say New Rules Could Force Them To Fly Sick, Risk Safety

Indian pilot unions are angry with the government. They say the authorities have now proposed new rules that may force them to fly sick.

Earlier this month, India's civil aviation ministry proposed changes to create stricter rules on pilots reporting for flight duty.

When pilots report being sick, according to the new government proposal, doctors employed by the airline will examine them. The ministry said that it can revoke their license if pilots "pretend to be sick" because it will be treated as "an act against public interest."

Unions say that this may give rise to sick pilots "pretending to be fit" out of fear. That could endanger passenger safety not only in India but also in the countries where their planes fly, including the United States.

The pilots will also be required to report for work according to the controversial "dynamic roster" of flight schedules as opposed to a fixed roster prepared earlier.

The changes, if passed, will be in force from December, the note said.

On Tuesday, three pilots unions in the country wrote to the government saying the proposed changes "would greatly imperil air safety."

The pilots said that airline doctors may not be equipped to diagnose quickly "non-routine illnesses" such as heart problems, back pain or mental stress.
24/11/16 Rama Lakshmi/NDTV

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