Cabin crew should have enough rest: DGCA

After coming out with rules to ensure medical fitness of airline cabin crew, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) now wants to ensure enough rest for them by bringing in time limit for their duty.

The aviation regulator has come out with draft Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) to establish regulations specifying the limits applicable to flight time, flight duty period and rest periods for cabin crew. Stakeholders have been asked to submit their suggestions by August 2.

Acknowledging that cabin crew have a different working pattern than the flight crew, they are required to work longer hours. They are first responders in-flight who are trained to handle smoke and fire incidents as well as medical emergencies including cardio pulmonary resuscitation.

According to the draft regulations, cabin crew members should make “best use of facilities and opportunities” that are provided for rest and for the consumption of meals and should “plan and use” rest periods to ensure that they are fully rested.

No operator can “assign” and no cabin crewmember should “accept” any duty to exceed 210 hours in any 28 consecutive days, spread as evenly as “practicable” through out this duty period.

In further break-up, the draft said, the duty hours should not exceed 125 hours in 14 consecutive days and 70 duty hours in any 7 consecutive days.

An operator should also ensure that the minimum weekly rest of 36 hours including one local night is provided such that there should never be more than 168 hours between the end of one weekly rest period and the start of the next, the draft regulations said.

“In case it is not possible then a rest period of 48 hour period including two local nights shall be given in a fortnight at home base,” the draft said.

In May, the DGCA has finalised rules regarding medical fitness, which among other things had said that an ‘obese’ cabin crew, who fails to shed weight to normal in 18 months, would be declared permanently unfit to fly and perform duties on air.

According to these rules, a cabin crew has to undergo a medical check-up at the induction stage as well as once in every four years until 40 years, once in two years until 50 and once every year after that. This is to ensure that the crew remains medically fit to discharge the duties specified in the Operations Manual.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on July 7, 2015)

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