Aviation regulator DGCA plans to extend the mandatory job leaving notice period for commanders to one year, from the six months at present, which some private airlines have been demanding since a long time. “It has been decided that every pilot working in an air transport undertaking shall give a notice period of at least one year in respect of commanders and six months in respect of co-pilots to the employer indicating his intention to leave the job,” the DGCA said in its draft proposal. Various airlines, including IndiGo and Jet Airways, under the banner of Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) have been pitching for increasing the mandatory notice period for pilots to one year from six months. With the domestic airlines embarking on expansion plans, the demand for pilots and cabin crew across various levels is on the rise.
According to the DGCA, pilots are resigning in groups without providing any notice period to the employer which forces the airlines to cancel their flights at the last minute. “Sometimes, such an abrupt action on the part of the pilots is in the form of a concerted move which tantamounts to holding the airline to ransom and leaving the travelling public stranded. “This is a highly undesirable practice and goes against the public interest. The resultant cancellation of flights causes inconvenience and harassment to the passengers,” the draft note said. Besides, it takes around nine months to train a pilot for a particular type of aircraft and an “exodus” could jeopardise an airline’s flight plans, the draft proposal said.
“Pilots are highly skilled personnel and shoulder complete responsibility of the aircraft and the passengers,” it said. “They are highly paid for the responsibility they share with the airlines towards the travelling public and are required to act with extreme responsibility,” the DGCA said. ALPA India, the Indian chapter of the International Federation of Airlines Pilots Association (IFALPA) had last year opposed the demand of domestic carriers to extend the mandatory notice period for pilots beyond six months. ALPA India is a member associate of International Federation of Airlines Pilots Association and claims representation of pilots from across various airlines.