The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has proposed a series of measures aimed at safeguarding the mental health of air traffic controllers and flight crew. These measures include the incorporation of mental health evaluations into existing medical assessments, as well as the creation of peer support programs.
A senior official from the DGCA has announced that a circular will soon be sent to both airlines and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) requesting that the necessary provisions be put in place to facilitate the implementation of these recommendations.
It should be noted that Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) fall under the purview of the AAI, and thus, will be subject to the measures proposed by the DGCA. By prioritizing the mental wellbeing of flight crew and air traffic controllers, the DGCA hopes to ensure safer skies and healthier work environments for all involved.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has established an expert panel to address concerns about the mental health of flight crew and air traffic control officers (ATCOs). The panel, which includes experienced DGCA officers, air safety experts, clinical aerospace medicine experts, and mental health experts, has identified three major domains for implementing measures.
These domains include mental health assessment during medical assessments, Peer Support Programe (PSP), and pre-employment psychological assessment. In a release, the DGCA stated that the aim of the panel is to “provide best practices and guidance for operators and stakeholders in the field of mental health promotion.” The circular is expected to come into effect from May 31. This step is expected to help improve the overall well-being of the flight crew and ATCOs.
In a statement released by the organization, it was noted that the DGCA plans to offer best practices and guidance to operators and stakeholders to ensure that proper care is taken to address mental health concerns.
To achieve this goal, the DGCA is recommending the use of testing instruments such as small questionnaires and interview techniques to identify individuals who may be suffering from mental health conditions. It is important to note that these instruments will not significantly impact the current medical examination process for license holders or medical examiners.
Additionally, the DGCA has recommended that flight crew and air traffic controllers (ATCOs) receive specialized training from trained clinical psychologists to recognize and manage the adverse effects of mental health conditions.
This move by the DGCA is a positive step forward in the aviation industry’s efforts to prioritize the mental well-being of its employees. By providing the necessary resources and support, the industry can better ensure the safety and comfort of both passengers and workers alike.
As the current Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Arun Kumar is preparing to retire from his position after serving his four-year tenure. He is urging the need to address the mental well-being concerns of aviation industry employees.
Kumar’s recommendations come at a time when he is set to retire on February 28th, and he believes that certain positions within the aviation industry require attention and support towards the mental health of employees.
The aviation industry is an inherently high-pressure and demanding field, and Kumar recognizes that the mental well-being of employees in such positions is critical for their overall health and the safety of passengers. He suggests that addressing mental health concerns can also lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction for employees.
As Kumar prepares to step down from his role as DGCA, his recommendations serve as a reminder for the aviation industry to prioritize employee well-being, particularly in high-stress positions. His call to action highlights the need for continued attention towards the mental health of aviation industry employees to ensure their overall health and safety.
In a bid to address mental health concerns among airline and airport personnel, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has recommended the implementation of a ‘Peer Support Programme’ (PSP). The programme, aimed at creating a stigma-free environment, will involve a trained peer, who shares a common professional qualification and experience with the person seeking assistance.
While the peer will provide support, a mental health expert will be involved in cases where professional intervention is necessary. The DGCA has stressed the importance of maintaining confidentiality and sensitivity towards those seeking assistance.
The DGCA has also asked airlines and airports to conduct pre-employment psychological assessments, which will be overseen by a clinical psychologist with knowledge relevant to the aviation industry. The move is expected to create a proactive and non-punitive culture while addressing the mental health concerns of airline and airport personnel.
Arun Kumar has expressed his desire to build a larger and more robust team to manage the country’s burgeoning air traffic. To that end, the DGCA has plans to open new regional offices in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Agartala, Amritsar, Nagpur, and Dehradun.
This expansion will require around 400 new positions, with a goal of hiring an additional 1,000 personnel by 2030 to ensure the organization is well-equipped to handle the growing number of airlines operating in India. Kumar’s focus on strengthening the DGCA comes in response to the country’s rapidly expanding aviation sector, which has seen a significant uptick in air traffic in recent years.
Edited by Prakriti Arora