Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Pilot refuses to operate Lucknow-Chennai fight due to fatigue: What are flight duty time limitation norms?

Instances of pilots refusing to operate flights citing fatigue or completion of the regulation duty hours are not uncommon. The latest incident was reported on Sunday from Lucknow where an IndiGo pilot reportedly refused to operate a flight to Chennai citing fatigue. In another such incident last week, the pilot of an Air India London-Delhi flight, which was diverted to Jaipur due to inclement weather in the capital, refused to operate the flight from Jaipur to Delhi citing flight duty time limitation (FDTL) norms.

While such instances often lead to inconvenience and delays for passengers, pilots and airlines usually adhere to these norms given that the flight crew performs safety-critical work and the safety of those on board is a top priority in aircraft operations. Globally, FDTL regulations are considered important to ensure that crew fatigue does not compromise flight safety. It is worth noting that flight crew fatigue and exhaustion are seen as major factors contributing to human errors in aircraft operations, which can lead to catastrophic accidents.

In India, the civil aviation safety regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) keeps a close watch on FDTL compliance by airlines as well as flight crews.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandates that the country where an aircraft operator or airline is based shall establish regulations for the purpose of managing fatigue. The civil aviation authorities of the country are required to issue prescriptive regulations for flight time, flight duty period, duty period, and rest period limitations. In India, these prescriptive regulations are issued and overseen by the DGCA.

The regulations stipulate different categories of maximum flight duty periods per day based on maximum permitted landings and flight time. Among other things, the regulations also stipulate mandatory rest periods between flight duty periods, in-flight rest periods for long-haul flights, other mandatory rest periods, guidelines for scheduling night operations, and maximum cumulative flight time and duty period limitations per week, two weeks, four weeks, 90 days, and one year. The norms also include special guidelines and norms for operating ultra-long-haul flights, and some leeway for airlines and flight crew in cases of unforeseen operational circumstances, including weather-related diversions.

05/07/2023 Sukalp Sharma/Indian Express

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment