“At approximately 11:35 am on November 16, 2023, Air India Commander, approximately 37 years old, experienced a sudden cardiac arrest at level 3 of the Air India office. CPR was administered by colleagues, and he was immediately transferred to Medanta Medical Centre. Despite receiving CPR and first aid from a doctor, he remained unconscious and was later declared deceased,” Air India said in a statement.
The unfortunate event has once again brought attention to the issue of stress and fatigue among pilots of Indian carriers, particularly the major ones. Pilots have been expressing concerns about their demanding schedules, which often involve consecutive night shifts and prolonged periods away from home base. They attribute these challenges to what they consider as “faulty” rostering practices.
In an attempt to address these concerns, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has recently released a draft of revised flight duty time limitation (FDTL) rules. The aim is to regulate airlines and ensure better working conditions for pilots. However, it remains to be seen whether these proposed changes will be sufficient.
This incident follows similar cases that have occurred in the past. In August of this year, an IndiGo pilot collapsed at a Nagpur Airport boarding gate while preparing to fly to Pune. Although he received immediate first aid and was promptly taken to a hospital, he could not be saved. Just a day prior to that, a former SpiceJet captain, who was currently employed by Qatar Airways, passed away while traveling as a passenger from Delhi to Doha.