MUMBAI: The aviation regulator DGCA on Tuesday proposed new rules on working hours and rest time for cabin crew to prevent tired staffers from being called to duty. The draft norms give a maximum 22 hours of duty time for cabin crew on long-haul flight (over 16 hours or more).
The new rules by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation also recommend 36-hour rest if a flight crosses eight times zones.
The Delhi High Court in May had given eight weeks to the DGCA to finalise fresh norms on flight duty and rest hours for cabin crew and pilots. The court also gave the regulator time till Tuesday to upload the draft civil aviation requirement or CAR on flight and duty time limitations, also known as FDTL.
The court’s direction for the fresh CAR came on a plea filed by a non-profit group and some Air India crew, who are working on long-haul flights, seeking a change in current rules framed in 2016. The plea said the current rules do not factor in the fatigue they experience as they get less time for rest.
The non-profit group in its plea said tired cabin crew are a safety risk for passengers as they may not be able to handle emergency situations properly.
The minimum rest before undertaking flight duty will be at least as long as the preceding duty period or 11 hours. It will be 14 hours for crossing three time zones up to eight time zone, and 36 hours for crossing eight time zones or more, the draft FDTL rules have recommended.
Also, the period of transportation to and from an airport will neither be counted towards duty time nor rest period, the DGCA’s proposed rules say.
The court had also criticised the DGCA for allowing airlines to change the FDTL norms.
The DGCA has also proposed that airlines must ensure that a minimum weekly rest of continuous 36 hours, including two local nights, is provided in a manner that there will not be more than 168 hours between the end of one weekly rest period and the start of the next.