Pilots will have to serve 1-year notice: DGCA

Pilots will have to serve 1-year notice: DGCA”

On 1 July, 2016, the Centre had issued a circular on the basis of which airlines had been asked to charge Rs100 per kg for baggage in excess of 15 kg.

About two years back, all Indian carriers - except Air India - had reduced free check-in baggage allowance for economy class domestic flyers from 20 kg to 15 kg. Now, the airlines can revert to the rates they were charging before.

Justifying the increase in the notice period, the DGCA said in its order that training pilots for airline operations takes eight to nine months. "Such resignations...cause inconvenience and harassment to the passengers", said the regulator's Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) that was implemented on Wednesday.

The Federation of Indian Pilots, which calls itself a body of like-minded pilots cutting across airlines, had said the existing notice period of six months was itself against worldwide standards of three-month notice. Owing to the complaints, the DGCA had directed that the airlines will not be allowed to charge more than Rs 100 per kg for extra baggage between 15 and 20 kg. The court order means the airlines are now free to revert to their old fee structure that meant passengers paying steep amounts for the baggage being excess by a few kilograms.

The circular had come into effect from July 1 a year ago as the court had not stayed it or deferred the date of implementation. However, the court had not stayed it or deferred the date of implementation then.

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which has Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir as its members, had opposed the DGCA circular saying it has no jurisdiction to fix tariff as this power lay with the airlines and the fares were determined by the market forces. "Also, under various circulars issued by the Centre from time to time, they can interfere if they find airlines indulging in predatory or oligopolistic practices,", P.S. Patwalia, additional solicitor general, had argued on behalf of the Centre. "In case an air transport undertaking (read airline) resorts to reduction in the salary/perks or otherwise alters the terms and conditions of the employment to the disadvantage of the employee pilot during the notice period, the pilot shall be free to make a request for his release before the expiry of the notice period and the air transport undertaking shall accept his request", it says.

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