Air India Fined for Flight Duty Time Violations

A new Tata Group Air India Airbus A321neo on the tarmac.
Photo Credit: Air India via Twitter

Air India, India’s national carrier, was recently fined ₹ 80 lakh (approx USD $95K) by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The fine relates to violations of regulations concerning flight duty time limitations (FDTL) and crew fatigue management.

The DGCA identified discrepancies during a surprise audit conducted by the regulator in January 2024.

The audit identified instances where pilots exceeded their designated flight duty periods, and there were overlaps in crew duty schedules. Additionally, some training records were found to be inaccurate.

The DGCA, India’s aviation regulatory body, is committed to upholding the highest safety standards in the civil aviation sector. This enforcement action underlines their dedication to ensuring crew well-being and flight safety.

Pilot Fatigue – A Safety Concern

Regulators establish flight duty time limitations to prevent pilot fatigue, a significant safety concern. Exhausted pilots can make critical errors in judgment, potentially compromising the safety of passengers and crew.

The DGCA’s prompt action serves as a reminder to all airlines operating in India. It highlights the importance of adhering to flight crew regulations.

An Air India Airbus A320neo on the tarmac.
Photo Credit: CALC

Increased Mandatory Rest Period

In a positive step towards crew well-being and flight safety, the DGCA implemented new regulations in January 2024. These regulations increased the mandatory weekly rest period for flight crew from 36 hours to 48 hours.

This change reflects a commitment to addressing pilot fatigue concerns and aligns with recommendations from international aviation safety organizations.

The address of pilot rest times follows a tragic incident involving an IndiGo pilot in August 2023. This incident, possibly due to fatigue, became a catalyst for the change in regulations.

Air India Tata Group Merger

In a significant development for the Indian aviation industry, the Tata Group, which reacquired Air India in January 2022, announced plans to merge Air India with Vistara, its existing full-service airline, in November 2022.

Pending regulatory approval, this merger is on track for completion by March 2024, creating a major Indian full-service carrier.

The combined entity will leverage the strong brand recognition of Air India and the premium service reputation of Vistara, making it a powerful competitor in both domestic and international markets.

An Air India A350 and operating crew.
Photo Credit: Air India


The DGCA’s enforcement action, the increased mandatory rest period for crew, and the upcoming Tata Group merger with Air India are positive developments for air travelers in India.

These changes have the potential to improve flight safety, crew well-being, and potentially lead to a more competitive airline landscape offering a wider range of choices for travelers.

Last month, the airline unveiled ‘Safety Mudras’, a new inflight safety video that blends safety instructions with the kaleidoscope of India’s vibrant culture.

Air India’s new safety video will debut on their recently introduced Airbus A350 aircraft.. The new widebody equipped with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment screens. Air India will then progressively roll out the safety briefing to other aircraft in its fleet.

Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD, Air India, said: “As a flagbearer of the country and a longstanding patron of Indian art and culture, Air India is delighted to present a work of art that is designed to deliver essential safety instructions while showcasing India’s rich cultural diversity to travellers around the world.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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