AI fumbles on extending work hours of crew,withdraws directive

Air India had issued the directive to its pilots on December 15, saying that "all FDTL (flight duty time limitation) are to be waived off in case an aircraft is diverted to an alternate airport due to bad weather.

"This advisory serves as an official authority and the crew must not ask for any other written confirmation of dispensation," it said, claiming that it had the approval of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

However, Director General of Civil Aviation E K Bharat Bhushan said that the advisory on extended work hours did not have his mandatory approval leading to its withdrawal by Air India.

"I have done nothing of the kind (granting approval to extend flight crew's work hours). Air India has already withdrawn the circular," Bharat Bhushan told PTI here.

Air India's flying crew has a maximum of 12 working hours, excluding four hours allowed in an emergency.

However, airline sources claimed that "concerned authorities in the DGCA had agreed upon the advisory following which it was issued.

"When they (DGCA) asked us to withdraw, we withdrew it," they said.

Airline officials asserted that the advisory "was issued in the interest of passengers" who are forced to wait for arrival of the new crew in case of delays or diversions.

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