Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) has written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to review its rule of not allowing off duty pilots to travel in the cockpit.
The pilots' body requested the aviation watchdog to allow airline operators in India to permit their crew members to travel as Additional Crew Members (ACMs) in the cockpit.
"It is with grave concern that we received the notification that your good office has effectively banned the travel of pilots in the cockpit as Additional Crew Members (ACM). This we feel is a knee-jerk reaction by your officers to a recent incident, where a pilot who intended to travel as ACM failed his breathalyzer test. Sir, just because one individual failed a BA test, prohibiting the entire set of professionals from travelling as ACM is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater," ICPA General Secretary Capt. T Praveen Keerthi wrote to DGCA's Director General Arun Kumar.
"A qualified crew member is always an asset in the cockpit. In the simplest form, it means another pair of eyes, ears and hands in the cockpit. One can easily understand that it enhances the level of safety and also security in the cockpit. If an emergency situation arises in the cockpit, the Additional Crew Member will be of invaluable assistance," the Air India pilots' body said.
"With an ACM in the cockpit, the pilots need not summon a cabin crew to the cockpit when leaving the flight-deck for lavatory breaks. So it necessitates only fewer opening and closing of the flight-deck access door," read the letter.
The DGCA had last month said off duty pilots and aircraft engineers are not allowed to travel in the cockpit, a day after it grounded an Air India Pilot for three months as he was tested positive in a pre-flight breath analyzer test.
The off-duty pilot was made to undertake the test after he requested to fly in the cockpit as an Additional Crew Member.
'With an ACM in the cockpit, the pilots need not summon a cabin crew to the cockpit when leaving the flight-deck for lavatory breaks. So it necessitates only fewer opening and closing of the flight-deck access door,' read the letter.