The regulatory body for civil aviation, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has proposed that the duty period of an Air Traffic Services (ATS) staff has to stay within the limits of 12 hours a day. The proposal came as a part of the draft Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on ‘Watch Duty Time Limitations and Rest Requirements of Air Traffic Services Personnel in Air Traffic Services’.
According to the draft norms, the total duty period should not exceed 50 hours within 144 consecutive hours or six consecutive days. DGCA has suggested that the aggregate duty period should not exceed 200 hours within 720 consecutive hours, or 30 consecutive days. As per the proposal, a staff serving at ATS requires 30 minutes of break for every two hours of work, especially at the airports having round-the-clock operations. The break norm is also applicable at the airports where there is 50% of increased aircraft movements than its stated capacity or flight arrival rate.
Regarding the night duty, DGCA has suggested restricting it to 12 hours of duty for three consecutive duties at a time. A minimum of 48 hours shall be given between the end of the duties that cover all/part of the night duty, and the commencement of the next period of duty.
Air Traffic Services primarily consist of the staff from Air Traffic Management and Communication, and Navigation and Surveillance (ANS).
Licensing of Air Traffic Controllers
The Civil Aviation Ministry recently started the processes of entrusting licensing of air traffic controllers to DGCA. Earlier, this was performed by the Airports Authority of India. The deadline to complete licensing processes is March 2019. However, the DGCA may miss this deadline, according to a report by New Indian Express.
The report that quoted a senior official of Ministry of Civil Aviation claims that the process of entrusting licensing also involves the formulation of regulations, guidance material and office establishment. These may require some serious time, which may not be fulfilled by March 2019.