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DGCA implements duty hours limit, rest period rules for Air Traffic Controllers at 57 airports

New Delhi: The aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has implemented Watch Duty Time Limitation (WDTL) and mandatory rest requirements for Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) at 57 airports, according to an official statement on Thursday.

The regulation will be implemented at remaining airports in a phased manner as per the road map indicated by the airport authority, the statement said.
According to Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), the duty period of an ATCO shall not exceed 12 hours in one shift and 48 hours in seven days. ATCOs shall take a compulsory 30 minute break after an operational duty of 2 hours.

There must be a gap of at least 12 hours between the end of one shift and the beginning of the next duty except for airports having split watch hours and the interval between watch hours is 5 hours or more with the total period of watch hours (including break in between) is 12 hours in a day, the DGCA said.
The CAR also specifies a limit on duty period and the interval between duty period and night duty.

It further said that ATCOs should not be given more than 6 consecutive days of duty and there shall be a minimum interval of 48 hours between the end of the one consecutive period of duty days and the next.

Meanwhile, Air Traffic Controllers' Guild (India) has welcomed the decision saying that the move was 'long awaited'.
"We expect that at remaining airports also, it will be soon implemented in phased manner with availability of trained manpower,” the Guild said.
It further flgged the issue of shortage of ATCOs and non-availability of Surveillance controllers.

"The major roadblocks in implementation of WDTL CAR are shortage of ATCOs and non-availability of Surveillance controllers as ATC Training centres (ATSTOs) are running surveillance training courses with less than half of their capacity," it added.

However, the DGCA said this regulation will be implemented at remaining airports in a phased manner as per the road map indicated by the airport authority.
"The maximum permissible duty period and minimum mandatory rest period for ATCOs has been given a shape in the form of regulations," the DGCA said.
The aviation regulator also said that ATCOs are the key personnel whose commitment towards safe, orderly and efficient flow of Air traffic makes travel by air, the safest mode of transportation.

"The profession is highly challenging, stressful, induces fatigue due to the nature of work and requires the highest degree of integrity, hard work, conflict resolution abilities and commitment," the DGCA stated.
The 57 Air Traffic Control Centers where these rules have been implemented include 9 from northern region including Amritsar, Dehradun, Kishangarh, Shimla, Kanpur, Bhuntar, Gaggal, PantNagar, Safdarjung, 15 centers from the southern region including Trichy, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tuticorin, Vadodara, Aurangabad, Hirasar, Jabalpur,  Calicut, Kannur, Kalaburgi, Mysore, Belgaum, Hubli, Vijayawada, Cudappah, Hyd-Begumpet, Tirupati, Rajamundry, 12 centres from western region including Mopa Goa, Gaya, Jhasarguda, Deogar, Jagdalpur, Raipur,  Indore, Surat, Bhopal, Udaipur, Shridi, Kohlapur, Juhu, 11 centres from eastern region including Bhubaneshwar, Patna, Ranchi, Durgapur, Kajuraho, Kushinagar.

There are also 10 airports from north east region including Barapani, Dibrugarh, Rupsi, Imphal, Agartala, Dimapur, Lengpui, Lilabari, Hollongi, Tezu.
The aviation regulator had framed WDTL and rest period regulations for ATCOs in January this year.

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