DGCA allows airlines to cancel flights delayed over 3 hrs; issues new SOPs

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : Jan 15, 2024, 9:18 PM IST

Updated : Jan 16, 2024, 11:25 AM IST

Amid chaos over flight delays and cancellations due to adverse weather conditions, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday allowed airlines to cancel flights that are likely to be delayed beyond three hours, an official said, adding the aviation watchdog has also issued new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Amid chaos over flight delays and cancellations due to adverse weather conditions, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) allowed airlines to cancel flights that are likely to be delayed beyond three hours, issuing new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked airlines to publish accurate real-time information regarding flight delays and appropriately sensitise staff at airports to suitably communicate with passengers amid fog-related disruptions at airports, while issuing a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on Monday.

The aviation watchdog's new SOPs were issued after a significant number of flights getting delayed and cancelled and passengers facing tough times. In Delhi, alone 76 flights were cancelled and 600 flights were delayed in the past 48 hours.

Three hour window- "In view of the prevalent fog season and adverse weather conditions, airlines may cancel, sufficiently in advance, such flights that are anticipated to be delayed or consequentially delayed on account of such conditions beyond a period of 3 hours with a view to obviate congestion at the airport and mitigate passenger inconvenience," the DGCA said.

The SOPs have been issued in view of the "fog-induced disruptions and adverse weather conditions at various airports, including Delhi airport, causing delays, cancellations and inconvenience to passengers", a release from the DGCA added.

CAR mandate & exemption- The aviation watchdog has insisted that its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) pertaining to 'facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights, which is already in vogue, be highly publicised.

The airlines are also required to publish the reference of the CAR on the flight tickets, the regulator said, adding that the CAR was issued to ensure appropriate protection for air travellers in case of flight disruptions and, in particular, denied boardings, flight cancellations and delays without due notice to the passengers booked on the flight(s).

"It is, accordingly, obligatory on the part of all airlines to mandatorily adhere to the provisions of the above CAR."

"However, in case of Force Majeure events i.e. extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the airline, the provisions of the above CAR are not applicable," it said.

Real-time delay information, staff sensitisation- The regulator insisted the airlines publish accurate real-time information regarding delays in their flights. According to the aviation watchdog, there should also be appropriate sensitisation of the airline staff at the airports to suitably communicate with and continuously guide and inform the passengers about flight delays.

The SOPs and the intervention of the Civil Aviation Minister came amid an incident of a passenger assaulting an IndiGo pilot as he was making a flight delay announcement onboard an aircraft that was bound for Goa. The incident happened at the Delhi airport on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia came out with a short statement on his social media account, stating that all stakeholders are working round-the-clock to minimise fog-related disruptions in flight operations and that the DGCA will come out with SOPs.

He said the SOPs will focus on ensuring "better communication and facilitation of passengers to minimise discomfort in view of flight cancellations and delays due to adverse weather".

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Last Updated :Jan 16, 2024, 11:25 AM IST
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