Indian pilots from three major domestic carriers have formed an umbrella body to lobby for better work conditions and air safety.
About 2,000 pilots working with Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have formed the Air Line Pilots’ Association (ALPA), which is affiliated to the aviation regulator, International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Association (IFALPA), a world body representing more than a lakh pilots from a 101 countries.
Indian pilots can now use the scientific and technical research done by IFALPA to enhance their safety knowledge. “Indian pilots will be part of the IFALPA committees that work on air traffic services, aerodrome ground environment, aircraft design, accident analysis and prevention,” said Captain S. Marwa, director IFALPA, India.
Until now, only the Indian Pilots Guild , one of the two pilot unions in Air India, was a member of the global pilots’ body.
As a result, last October, IPG members could access research material from IFALPA while making their presentation on the flight duty timings to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
It has taken Indian pilots more than 60 years to organise themselves and get affiliated to the international body. Until now the country did not have a single independent agency doing research to improve air safety.
“There was no agency to give a counter view for DGCA policies. APLA India could fill in that gap,” said an air safety expert requesting anonymity.
IFALPA has also been instrumental in guiding the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the world apex body that formulates air travel regulations.