The Telegraph
Saturday , March 29 , 2014
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Aviation cop offers leeway to pilots

New Delhi, March 28: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today decided to enhance the period of pilots’ licence renewal from two to five years, subject to the airlines and the cockpit crew meeting all other requirements such as medical checks.

The move is aimed at enhancing the operational efficiency of airlines.

The decision was taken at a meeting between the top-brass of the aviation regulator and senior officials of all Indian carriers.

At present, a commercial pilot licence needs to be renewed every two years, but in the US or the UK, it is issued once for perpetual use though there are regular proficiency, medical and other tests which the pilots have to undergo.

After the hour-long meeting, officials said the decision to enhance the period from two to five years was being taken only under the condition that the onus of carrying out all other checks and tests would lie on the airlines and the pilots. Such a move will also lessen the burden on the DGCA, which is facing a staff crunch, they said.

Regarding pre-flight medical checks carried out by a registered medical practitioner, the officials said it had also been decided that activities such as pre-flight breath analysis could now be carried out also by a paramedic or a trained science graduate.

The DGCA had sought suggestions on a range of operational issues, especially those affecting pilots, including the granting and renewal of their licences and medical checks.

It has also been decided that the regulator will hold such periodic meetings with the airlines once every quarter to discuss a range of issues affecting their operations and take steps to streamline rules, procedures and practices, official sources said.

Consultations will also be held with private non-scheduled operators and general aviation business officials later, they said.