Global pilots’ grouping IFALPA has raised concerns over the proposal to increase the notice period for pilots working with Indian carriers to up to one year, saying the rule could seriously impact aviation safety. Canada-based International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) represents more than 1,00,000 pilots across the world, as per its website. Amid domestic carriers worried over the trend of pilots quitting and joining rivals, aviation regulator DGCA has proposed norms that would require a notice period of one year for captains and six months for co-pilots.
In a communication to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), IFALPA has said the proposed rule could have a serious impact on aviation safety. “If a pilot has made the decision to leave his/her employment for whatever reason, to mandate they must nevertheless remain in the job for up to a year could result in a very demoralised employee,” the grouping said. If the pilot is distracted and being forced to remain at the current job, the potential for making an error in performing these tasks is greatly increased, it added.
Further, IFALPA said, the proposed notice period is in direct violation of basic human rights and the International Labour Convention which prohibits forced labour. “A positive and proactive way for the airlines of India to retain pilots is not forced labour, but rather by making the wages, benefits, and working conditions of the job desirable so pilots will be happy to stay in the job,” the communication said. This is the approach other airlines in the world are taking and India, as a progressive democracy, should do the same, it added.
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 domestic airlines embarking on expansion plans, the demand for pilots and cabin crew across various levels is on the rise. As per the DGCA, pilots are resigning in groups without providing any notice period to the employer which forces the airlines to cancel flights at the last minute.