India’s aviation watchdog proposes less work, more rest for pilots – draft

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s air safety watchdog proposes reduced night work hours and more rest for pilots, among measures to address rising complaints of pilot fatigue, according to draft regulations seen by Reuters on Saturday.

The proposal from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation come more than two months after it decided to conduct a review of pilot fatigue data collected during spot checks and surveillance of airlines.

The review was launched after an IndiGo pilot collapsed and died in August before his flight.

Changes would include cutting the maximum flight duty period to 10 hours from 13 hours for pilots operating at night, and increasing the minimum weekly rest period to 48 hours from 36 hours.

The directorate did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the draft.

Such rule changes are usually circulated for comments from airlines, pilots and other stakeholders before being finalised.

While pilot fatigue is a global problem, India is at the heart of the matter as the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, with hundreds of planes on order by IndiGo and Tata group-owned Air India.

IndiGo, India’s biggest airline, has said the pilot who died had a 27-hour break before duty and was in good health.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Writing by YP Rajesh; Editing by William Mallard)