Friday, April 13, 2018

HC raps DGCA for changing stipulated flight duty time limitations

New Delhi: Concerned over fatigued pilots and cabin crew posing a risk to passenger safety, the Delhi High Court today took to task aviation regulator DGCA for allowing airlines to change stipulated flight and duty time limitations (FDTLs).

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was going against its own Aircraft Rules by allowing such changes and questioned its power to do so.

"We cannot have regulations which go beyond the rules in order to cater to the market requirements of airlines. It is manifestly illegal and a threat to passenger safety. You have no power to permit variations (of FDTLs)," the court told the DGCA and added that if it wanted the power, it would have to get the Aircraft Act and Rules amended.

"You cannot undo what the legislature has consciously done," the court said.

The bench said that the "prime requirement" was passenger safety and not whether pilots have complained.

The court said that lack of complaints by pilots or accidents were "not the answer" and asked the regulator how many times it carried out risk assessments regarding pilot fatigue before permitting the variations.

It also asked, "Why fix standards of maximum flying time and minimum rest period when you are going to vary them."
13/04/18 Times of India