Chennai: The Centre on Friday informed the
Madras High Court that under a recent amendment to the Civil
Aviation Requirements (CAR) identical medical standards as
applicable to Indian pilots under Rule 39B have been
incorporated for application to foreign pilots also.
In a counter affidavit to a petition by `Society for
Welfare of Indian Pilots`, the Additional Solicitor General,
appearing for the Centre and Director General of Civil
Aviation (DGCA), said the draft CAR on validation of foreign
licences was available on the DGCA website and that the
petitioner was at liberty to express its views.
A bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice
T S Sivagnanam said it was disposing of the petition in view
of the submission by the Additional Solicitor General.
They directed the Centre and DGCA to consider
objections that may be received on the draft CAR, pursuant to
the notification in the DGCA website and finalise the
requirements within a period of four months after receiving a
copy of the court order.
"We prima facie find no error in the manner in which
the medical fitness assessment has been prescribed in the
draft CAR," the judges said and closed connected miscellaneous
The Bench said, "It is heartening to note that the
Central Government has taken effective steps with regard to
prescription of standards for the foreign licence holders
after the writ petition was entertained by the court."
In its petition, the society sought to declare as
`ultra vires` a clause of CAR issued by the DGCA on October 8,
1999 and revised on August 8, 2009 regarding the minimum
experience requirement for engagement as Pilot-in-command
under Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation (FATA) and the
practice of permitting private airlines to have different
medical standards for pilots engaged under FATA and Indian
The petitioner alleged that particularly the
requirement relating to medical fitness for foreign pilots
flying under FATA were lower than that prescribed for Indian
pilots. By prescribing such lower standards has led to several
unfortunate incidents and most recently being the air crash on
May 22, 2010 at the Mangalore airport, the petitioner claimed.
On private airlines engaging foreign pilots to
overcome the shortage of senior pilots, the DGCA submitted
that to ensure that operators did not engage FATA pilots in a
routine manner it had restricted permission under FATA up to
July 2011 only and during this period a phasing out programme
of FATA pilots by the operators would be monitored.
The DGCA pointed out that in 2008 there were 843 FATA
holders, which were reduced to 686 in 2009 while at present
there were 487 FATA pilots.