Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Pilots body moves Delhi High Court against revised flight duty hours

NEW DELHI: Accusing civil aviation minister Ajit Singh of undue interference, the Association of Indian Commercial Pilots has moved the Delhi High Court against the new flight duty hours.

The petition, which is likely to be taken up for hearing on Thursday, blames Singh for tinkering with the duty hours of pilots without consulting them or the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as is mandatory.

Arguing that it was the sole prerogative of the DGCA to lay down maximum daily hours to be flown by pilots, the maximum daily duty hours as well as the daily landings permitted by a pilot, the pilots alleged that the minister had stepped beyond his jurisdiction.

The petition said even private airlines couldn't set their own flight and duty time limitations (FDTL), yet the minister went ahead in September and decided that the FDTL for Air India pilots will be revised upwards. The pilots claimed the minister also directed AI to implement the revised duty hours along with revised route allocations in gross violation of statutory laws.

"Bilateral agreements that protect pilots have been interfered with and revised by a third party which violates constitutional rights," the pilots said in their petition, urging the court to intervene and quash the revised duty hours.

The pilots claimed Singh had failed to discharge the function as a "neutral nodal minister" for the airline industry but had taken a decision to influence Air India on FDTL that posed a threat to safety of the aircraft apart from violating Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) rules.

The petition also said that since 1965, any change in FDTL was made after negotiation with pilots followed by approval of the DGCA. Yet, this time, in blatant disregard of established practices and conventions, the minister had issued new duty hours, the pilots complained.

No comments:

Post a Comment