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On April 24 the Delhi High Court had banned the extension of duty timings of pilots and cabin crew, except for very special circumstances, citing lack of safety of passengers through overworked and fatigued pilots and cabin crew.

On Tuesday (May 22) the court issued notice to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to file reply in regards to Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules 1937 before the next date of hearing, which is August 2.

According to this rule the DGCA stands empowered by special and general order in writing to exempt any airline for such extensions. But it may be pointed out that such extensions cannot be routine, but only under exceptional circumstances.

In April the court had also directed the Civil Aviation Regulator (CAR), DGCA, to adhere to the Rule 42A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, which details functioning of airlines to mitigate fatigue of the cockpit and the cabin crew.

The CAR or any other direction by the DGCA has to strictly abide by Airlines, the court has said. EU Aviation Rules and UK Aviation Rules, on account of unforeseen circumstances, have enabled and permitted exceptions.

—India Legal Bureau

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