DGCA finds GoAir pilots exceed flight time

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has cracked down on GoAir for pushing pilots and cabin group to work in extra of stipulated hours, said officials  with expertise of the matter.

“The inquiry is on and innumerable violations have been found of a serious nature. The airline has been asked to fix them,” said one of them.

The airline breached Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) norms by, for instance, making the crew fly for 4 consecutive nights, said the people  mentioned  above,  including  that  approximately 40 violations have been pointed out. GoAir didn’t respond to queries at the DGCA findings sent on Sunday.

This comes as the carrier has been cancelling flights over the past week. About 18 domestic flights were cancelled on Monday from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Patna.

Airlines Face Shortage of Pilots

This was due to bad climate and protests in opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

“A combination of factors such as inclement weather, low visibility and anti-CAA protests in certain parts of the country have disrupted multiple flights across GoAir’s network,” it said in a statement on the Monday cancellations. “This led to crew pairing disruptions resulting in cancellation due to flight duty time limitations (FDTL)… Free cancellation and re-booking options have been offered to all those affected.”

FDTL guidelines on the operating hours of pilots and cabin crew are aimed at  preserving secure operations by way of ensuring that they aren’t fatigued. The airline is said to have flouted deadlines prescribed beneath FDTL by the DGCA, in step with the people  mentioned  above.

Aviation analysts said the airline and the crew members involved should be penalised.

“FDTL violations are serious because they compromise the safety of airline operations,” said Shakti Lumba, former pilot and head of operations at two Indian carriers. “These rules are made to ensure that the fatigue of the crew does not compromise safety because a fatigued pilot would not be able to fly as efficiently as a non-fatigued pilot, thus compromising safety. The DGCA should take stringent action against both the airline and pilots or cabin crew members involved.”

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FDTL stipulates maximum flying hours as well as the number of landings and takeoffs allowed in a day, week or month.

Indian carriers face a shortage of pilots, primarily commanders, which could become severe as they expand to meet growing demand.

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