Air India told to stick to DGCA guidelines on flight time for pilots and crew

Minister of civil aviation Ajit Singh has directed Air India to immediately implement the guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on flight duty time limitations (FDTL) for its pilots and crew members.

The minister had earlier sought a comparative analysis of the FDTL and the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) of the DGCA as followed by Air India.

The analysis found that except for one out of six FDTL parameters, which is on ''rest period'', all other parameters followed by Air India for its pilots and crew members are on the lower side, an official release said today.

The FDTL basically deals with six parameters, including maximum daily flight duty period, maximum daily flight time, weekly/monthly/annually limitation of flying hours, rest period, staff on duty (SOD), travel or positioning or dead heading and number of landings.

The decision is also in line with the Dharmadhikari Committee Report on Air India, which had strongly recommended that the pilots have to abide by their licensing conditions and also aviation rules in the matter of actual flying hours and the lay-off period, particularly with reference to mandatory flight duty time limitations (FDTL) and flying time limitation (FTL) regulations.

Failure to follow FDTL guidelines has resulted in limited average utilisation of pilots in Air India, according to the ministry. The DGCA/ CAR guidelines on FDTL will lead to optimum utilisation of its pilots and crew members and will reduce the requirements of pilots and cabin crew as the airline adds to its fleet, it said.

The guidelines will help the airline to spare significant number of pilots/ cabin crew for additional aircrafts, which the Air India is going to acquire up to 2015, the release said.