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HC reprieve for overworked pilots

mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2010 00:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Air India and Jet Airways pilots received a reprieve on Wednesday.

The Bombay High Court directed the aviation regulator to consider their grievance regarding relaxation granted to the two airlines, which resulted in increasing the flight duty time by 10 hours a week.

A division bench of Justice D.K. Deshmukh and Justice N.D. Deshpande allowed the Air India and Jet Airways pilots’ associations to approach the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with their objections to the relaxation granted to the respective airlines. The court also directed the DGCA to take a fresh decision within four weeks.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Indian Pilots Guild challenging relaxations granted to the two airlines.

In August 2008, the DGCA had granted the relaxation to the two airlines following their representations that it was difficult for them to implement the then existing Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs), which govern flight duty time of the crew, including pilots, in view of shortage of pilots.

The Indian Pilots Guild challenged the decision, which resulted in increasing the duty hours from 30 to 40 hours per week, contending that the crew did not get adequate rest period to commensurate with the increase in flight time.

Additional solicitor general Darius Khambata on Wednesday told the court that the DGCA would formulate new CARs within five months after receiving the expert committee’s report. The committee has been appointed by the DGCA to frame new CARs. The report is expected within four weeks, added Khambata.