Aviation body to allow off-duty pilots to travel in cockpits
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will allow pilots to travel in cockpits even if they are not on duty, the civil aviation regulator said in an order on Tuesday.
On July 13, an off-duty Air India pilot, who was flying to Bengaluru as an additional crew member because the plane was full, was grounded after he failed a breath analyser test for alcohol consumption . Following this, the DGCA barred pilots from travelling in cockpits if they are not on duty.
Pilots had opposed the move saying the airline’s manual allows them to travel in cockpits as additional crew as they might have to join duty from the next station. In the order, the DGCA said no person is allowed to enter a plane’s cockpit and occupy jump seats for safety reasons.
The regulator has offered some exemptions. “Any flight crew member of the aircraft operator, who has been authorised by the aircraft operator, and has the permission of PIC [pilot in command], whose presence in the cockpit shall be beneficial to the overall safety of operations,” DGCA said in the order exempting additional pilots from rule.
The DGCA said that an additional pilot, who chooses to travel in a plane’s cockpit, will have to undergo a breath analyser test as well. “This is an industry need. But they have to undergo a breath analyser test and suffer the same consequence as the ones on duty if they fail,” DGCA chief Arun Kumar said.