DGCA Overhauls Fatigue Risk Management System for Enhanced Flight Crew Safety


The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has undertaken a substantial overhaul of the Flight Duty Time Limitations (FDTL) for flight crew, marking a pivotal step in enhancing aviation safety in India.

Enhanced Weekly Rest and Revised Night Duty Definitions

  • Extended Weekly Rest Periods: The DGCA now mandates a minimum of 48 hours of weekly rest for flight crew, up from the previous 36 hours, facilitating better recovery from cumulative fatigue​​.
  • Amended Night Duty Hours: The definition of night has been extended to include 0000-0600 hours, previously 0000-0500 hours. This change aligns with the Window of Circadian Low (WOCL), which is critical for ensuring alertness during sensitive early morning hours​​.

Restrictive Measures on Flight Time and Landings

  • Maximum Flight Time and Duty Periods: For night operations, flight time and duty periods are now limited to 8 and 10 hours respectively. This is a reduction from the earlier norms, taking into account the varying demands of different time zone operations​​.
  • Limitation on Number of Landings: The number of permissible landings during night operations has been decreased to two, significantly lower than the previous cap of six landings​​.

Implementation of Fatigue Reports

  • Mandatory Quarterly Fatigue Reports: Airline operators must now submit fatigue reports every quarter, analyzing and detailing the actions taken in response to these reports. This approach is non-punitive and maintains confidentiality​​​​.
  • Policy on Fatigue Reports: Operators must establish clear policies on how to raise and respond to fatigue reports. These reports and actions taken are to be preserved for a minimum of one year​​.

Transition Towards a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS)

  • Towards FRMS: The DGCA envisions adopting the FRMS, a data-driven method for better monitoring and reporting of flight crew fatigue. This will require collaboration among various aviation stakeholders, including the regulator, airline operators, and flight crew​​.

Public Consultation and Inclusive Decision-Making

  • Extensive Stakeholder Consultation: The DGCA’s revisions were preceded by in-depth consultations with airlines, pilots, and cabin crew members, reflecting a comprehensive and inclusive approach to policy formulation​​.
  • Draft Open for Public Comment: The proposed draft has been made available for public comment, ensuring transparency and wider participation in the decision-making process​​.

Specific Regulations for Ultra-Long Flights

  • Case-by-Case Approval: Operators must seek specific approval for ultra-long-haul flights, including submitting plans for specific city pairs and departure windows​​.
  • Crew Alertness Validation: The DGCA may validate these flights for crew alertness, with a preference for operators to adopt FRMS for continuous monitoring​​.


The DGCA’s comprehensive revision of the FDTL regulations is a significant stride towards ensuring safer aviation operations in India. By addressing pilot fatigue with a data-driven and stakeholder-inclusive approach, these changes are poised to significantly enhance flight safety and operational efficiency.



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