SEPTEMBER 25, 2022
A recent survey of 542 pilots by an NGO called ‘Safety Matters Foundation’ showed 66 per cent of Indian pilots sleeping while flying a flight without consent from the crew due to fatigue. Following the same, Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), which represents pilots of narrow-body aircraft at Air India, has now urged the civil aviation regulator DGCA to do away with all the current regulations related to fatigue management for flight crew and formulate new norms. In a letter, dated September 12, written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the association also said that professionals, organisations and associations like ICPA should be involved while formulating regulations on fatigue.
Among the respondents, the majority of pilots admitted that they have fallen asleep without planning/consent of the other crew or experienced micro sleep. A grouping of pilots has sought changes in the norms regarding fatigue management for flight crew, saying the regulations should be based on scientific principles, operational knowledge and experience.
Fatigue among pilots is a concern and there have been reports of pilots falling asleep while operating flights. “Scrap all the current regulations, circulars, et cetera regarding Fatigue Management for flight crew as they violate all the Scientific Principles and various Operational Knowledge and Experience promulgated in various ICAO SARPs,” it said.
ICAO is the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and SARPs refer to Standards and Recommended Practices. The pilots’ grouping has also suggested that regulations regarding fatigue should be formulated in line with ICAO SARPs based on scientific principles and operational knowledge and experience.
ICPA represents around 900 pilots of narrow-body aircraft at Air India. As per the letter, the purpose of the representation is to highlight that Indian provisiosn related to fatigue management for flight crew are in deviation from ICAO SARPs.
Meanwhile, among other findings, the survey by the NGO showed that 54.2 per cent of the pilots suffer from severe excessive daytime sleepiness.