Indian pilots unite to combat fatigue woes after three pilots die in two days

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Indian airline pilots plan to establish an association to contest the regulations regarding flying duty, which they claim result in fatigue and jeopardize safety. 

According to the pilots, this union is urgently needed as “the worldwide flying fraternity has lost three pilots in two days due to cardiac arrest,” including a 40-year-old IndiGo pilot. 

Captain Shakti Lumba, a retired vice president of IndiGo, has already gathered hundreds of pilots to form the new Professional Pilot Association of India (PPAI). He is also urging the current members of the Indian Pilots’ Guild and the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association to join. 

The main priorities of PPAI shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), include reducing the pilot notice period to three months, ensuring pilots are rested and have safe schedules, and the escrow for training fees to be only used for training. 

“Right now, we have formed a group of pilots to highlight issues of safety, fatigue, and employment conditions with the intention of forming an association subsequently. All pilots whether working for airlines, charter operators, and flying schools can join,” Lumba told the Times of India. 

The maximum duty time for flights with two pilots in the US is 14 hours during the day and nine to 10 hours during late-night flights. India does not distinguish between day and nighttime and permits pilots to work 13 hours in a 24-hour period. 

Reuters talked to more than 400 Indian pilots and revealed growing stress following the recent death of an IndiGo pilot.  

One pilot wrote “consecutive midnights are a killer”, while another said, “it’s time to start fixing things that are ailing Indian aviation”.  

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Emilia Stankeviciute
Journalist[br][br] Emilia joined AeroTime's editorial team as a journalist in 2023. Her educational background includes studying analytical journalism in Lithuania and the UK. Emilia has also explored the realms of PR and tourism.
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