New Delhi, May16: The aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday advocated new rules regarding working hours and rest time for cabin crew. The move is proposed to prevent tired staffers from being called to duty. According to the latest draft norms, a maximum 22 hours of duty time for cabin crew on a long-haul flight (over 16 hours or more). It also provides for a 36 hours rest in case of the flight crossing eight times zones.
The Delhi High Court in May had given a time of eight weeks to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to finalise fresh norms on flight duty and rest hours for cabin crew and pilots. The court also granted the regulator time till Tuesday. The time was given to upload the draft civil aviation requirement (CAR) on flight and duty time limitations, also known as FDTL.
The court's direction for the fresh CAR came while hearing a plea filed by a non-profit group and some Air India crew. The petitioners seek change in current rules framed in 2016. According to the plea, the current rules give cabin crew less time to rest. The rules also do not consider the fatigue they experience.
The non-profit group in its plea said that cabin crew needs to be given time to take proper rest so that they can handle the emergency situation properly. The plea also stated that tired cabin crew are a safety risk for passengers.
According to the draft FDTL rules recommended, the minimum rest before undertaking flight duty will be at least as long as the preceding duty period or 11 hours. The rest time should be 14 hours for crossing three time zones up to eight time zones. It also suggests that 36 hours of rest should be mandatory for crossing eight time zones or more.
The DGCA also proposed the period of transportation to and from an airport will neither be counted towards duty time nor rest period. The DGCA was also pulled up by the court for allowing airlines to change the FDTL norms. The minimum weekly rest of continuous 36 hours, including two local nights is also proposed by the DGCA.
The rest is provided in such a manner that there will not be than 168 hours between the end of one weekly rest period and the start of the next. The DGCA has also proposed that airlines must ensure that a minimum weekly rest of, is provided in a manner that there will not be more.