Cabin crew of all domestic airlines will now have to ‘interact’ with pilots over intercom every half hour.
This guideline has been issued by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation, to ensure pilots don’t fall asleep while flying. DGCA is concerned over incidents of planes flying beyond their destination or deviating from the flight path after pilots fell asleep.
The DGCA circular, signed by joint director general A.K. Chopra, has six new guidelines on management of crew fatigue during flight.
Pilots have also been instructed to keep the volume of speakers on high so they can hear instructions from the ATC clearly.
The circular, a copy of which is with the HT, said there were few recent incidents where the cockpit crew operating an aircraft fell asleep and didn’t respond to calls from the air traffic control for 15-30 minutes.
In June last year, a Dubai-Jaipur-Mumbai flight of Air India overshot its destination. The aircraft, which was on autopilot, kept flying towards Goa instead of landing at Mumbai after the pilots fell asleep.
“In September, aircraft of an Indian carrier overflew its destination while flying abroad, after the pilots didn’t respond to calls from the ATC. The incident is being investigated,” said a senior DGCA official on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media.