Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: In a significant move towards enhancing aviation safety, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has revised its Flight Duty Time Limitations (FDTL) norms for flight crews. The amended regulations, slated for implementation by June 1, 2024, introduce key changes to increase rest periods for pilots, adjust night duty hours, and limit the number of landings during night operations.
The revised norms extend the weekly rest period for pilots from the previous 36 hours to 48 hours. This augmentation ensures pilots have ample time to recuperate, essential for maintaining alertness and safety during flights.
Additionally, the DGCA has expanded the definition of night hours for pilots, now encompassing the time from 12:00 am to 6:00 am, aligning with the Window of Circadian Low (WOCL), a period when circadian rhythms are at their lowest in terms of alertness. This change is expected to offer a more effective rest period for pilots.
Furthermore, the number of landings permitted during night operations has been reduced to two, a significant decrease from the previous limit of six. This revision aims to diminish the workload and fatigue associated with multiple night landings. Another critical development is the DGCA’s adoption of a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS). This data-driven approach will enhance the monitoring and reporting of flight crew fatigue, contributing to safer aviation operations.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has emphasized that these new regulations conform to international standards. They account for the early sunrise in India, adjusting the night hours accordingly. This initiative is part of a broader effort to establish a more facilitative regime for pilots, ensuring that fatigue management aligns with global practices.
Comparing these measures with international norms, such as those set by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), it is evident that India’s efforts are in sync with global trends in aviation safety.