Pilots and cabin crew can now work beyond their prescribed duty hours in case of "exceptional circumstances", including delays due to air traffic control and runway closure, according to aviation regulator DGCA.
Airlines can extend the duty hours of flight and cabin crew to "avoid inconvenience to passengers" in such circumstances.
The decision comes after the Delhi High Court, on May 22, ruled that the aviation regulator had the power to grant the airline companies an exemption from the stipulated Flight Duty Time Limitations (FDTLs) of pilots.
Medical emergency, unforecast weather, runway closure and ATC (Air Traffic Control) delay are among the exceptional circumstances cited by the watchdog that could warrant relaxation of FDTL requirements.
Some of the exceptional circumstances, which may be occasionally encountered during operation of flight are medical emergency, natural calamity, national requirement for relief & rescue operations (mission oriented), equipment malfunction, weather related disruptions, runway closure, passenger and aircraft recovery, it said.
"Under such exceptional circumstances, there may be occasions when operation of flight is beyond the prescribed limits... requiring dispensation from existing flight duty time limits to avoid inconvenience to the passengers.
As per the DGCA, exemption could be sought for additional landing for aircraft retrieval and extra flight duty period for aircraft retrieval, among others.
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