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The Supreme Court has ordered the Director General of Civil Aviation to explain why the new norms for rationalising the flying hours for pilots were not implemented.

The guidelines on flight duty timing limitations (FDTL), drawn up to check pilot fatigue in the wake of the Mangalore air crash, were to come into effect from February 15, 2012.

A two-judge bench on Monday issued a contempt notice to the DGCA in response to a petition filed by the Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots that by not operationalising the new norms, the DGCA had violated the court’s May 3, 2011.

It, however, dispensed with the personal appearance of the DGCA, who has been allowed to present its views through a lawyer.

The petition alleged that the FDTL guidelines were put in abeyance to cater to “commercial interests” of some “operators” with scant regard for “public safety and interests”.The new rules take into account the time spent by pilots in travelling to the city from which they are to fly. In contrast, the old norms only took the duty time into account.

The lawyer for the pilots, KTS Tulsi, alleged that the DGCA kept extending the deadline for implementing the new rules and selectively relaxed it for some private operators.

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