The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has told the Delhi High Court that it has not fixed the notice period for pilots but has just laid down the guidelines under the Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs) , and the power to decide the duration has been left with the airlines.
The aviation regulator told the court that the CARs (or rules) on the notice period were issued after airlines approached it expressing concern over any sudden efflux of pilots. The airlines also claimed they spend considerable time and effort in training them.
The lawyer representing the DGCA told Justice Rajiv Shakdher the regulator does not cancel the licence of a pilot for violation of the CARs on notice period, and instead the airlines decide (on cancellation) according to the contract they have with the pilot concerned.
“How can airlines be given the power (of cancellation of licence)?” the court asked and listed the matter for further hearing on May 16.
The court was hearing pleas moved by several pilots’ associations challenging the CARs of 2009 and 2017 issued by the DGCA on notice period to be served by commander pilots and co-pilots.
Under the CARs of 2009, the notice period was increased to six months from the earlier three months, which is the international practice, the pilots associations have said.
While the CARs of 2009 were under challenge in the high court, the 2017 CARs were issued which increased the notice period to be served by the commander pilots to one year. However, the notice period to be served by co-pilots was not changed.
The associations, including the Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots, Indian Pilots Guild and Federation of Indian Pilots, have contended that violation of the CARs has legal consequences — the cancellation of their licence.
They have also contended that notice periods are a matter of contract between the airline and the pilot.
Under the CARs of 2017, the notice period may be reduced if the airline provides a no-objection certificate to a pilot and accepts his resignation earlier than the period stipulated in the amended rules.