Pilots’ shortage reason for 1 year notice period, says Raju

New Delhi: Regulator DGCA took the decision to have one-year notice period for pilots as there is shortage of commanders, according to union minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju who also observed that flights cannot be held to ransom due to non-availability of pilots.

Last month, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) decided to extend the notice period to be served by senior pilots to one year from six months. Some pilots’ unions have voiced their opposition to the move.

“The logic (of the decision) was that commanders are in short supply. Basically, that is what it is and there are no restrictions on anything else. Flights can’t be held to ransom,” Raju told PTI in a recent interview.

The civil aviation minister’s response came to a query on the DGCA extending the notice period for pilots.

“It has been decided that pilots working in an air transport undertaking shall give a ‘notice period’ of at least one year in respect of commanders, and six months in respect of co-pilots to the employer indicating his intention to leave the job,” the DGCA said last month.

The notice period, however, may be reduced if the air transport undertaking provides a no-objection certificate to a pilot and accepts his resignation earlier than the period stipulated in the amended rules, as per the amended Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR).

Provision of this CAR would be subject to the outcome of writ petition pending before the Delhi High Court. Sometime back, a petition was filed against the DGCA’s proposal to increase the notice period for pilots and it is pending before the court.

At present, both senior and junior pilots are required to serve a six-month notice period. When the draft rules were put up for consultations, a large number of respondents had opposed the proposal to extend the notice period.

“There are people for or against, we don’t go into that,” the minister said.

On pilots being miffed over DGCA citing that notice period is an HR function, Raju remarked, “I know one thing that government will not interfere. We facilitate things”.

With the domestic airlines embarking on expansion plans, the demand for pilots and cabin crew across various levels is on the rise.