Saturday, February 27, 2016

DGCA revises crew rest rules, experts raise safety concerns

Mumbai: The new work and rest rules for cabin crew, rolled out by the Indian aviation regulator on Thursday, could have a grave impact on passenger safety during emergencies like fire on board aircraft, crash landing, etc, as some provisions would increase the cumulative fatigue of flight attendants.
Given the critical nature of their jobs, pilots and cabin crew members are required to be alert during their duty hours so as to ensure flight and passenger safety. Hence the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issues guidelines that define several parameters like the maximum duty hours and landings that they can be rostered for, the minimum rest period mandatory, number of days they can work at a stretch, among others. Airlines are bound to adhere to these rules when rostering their crew for flight duties.
But the new rules, which come into effect in September, allow airlines to put their flight attendants on punishingly long work schedules sans rest. "Some provisions in the new rules seem to be tailor-made to suit the schedules of two particular airlines," said an aviation source, requesting anonymity.
For instance, under the current norms, flight attendants should not be rostered for more than two flights if these are operated between 2am and 6am. In comparison, the new norms allow airlines to roster flight attendants for up to six flights even when operated at night.
27/02/16 Manju V/Times of India
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