India's IndiGo use smartwatches to study pilots fatigue

IndiGo, the largest airline in India, has plans to test pilot fatigue using smartwatches and is seeking a consultant to enhance its fatigue risk management processes, as stated in an internal memo obtained by Reuters. Pilots may offer to participate in the trial for the fatigue management tool from Thales, and the data collected will be analyzed anonymously. 


The memo, which was sent to all pilots by Ashim Mittra, the head of IndiGo's flight operations department, indicated that once completed, they will evaluate the accuracy and effectiveness of the data. IndiGo did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 


The move comes after an IndiGo pilot collapsed and died before his flight, and some Indian pilots have complained that airlines are pushing them to their limits despite complying with duty time regulations. Mittra stated in the memo that having a consultant on board at IndiGo will be critical in implementing a robust fatigue risk management system in the coming months and will enable the airline to develop tailored fatigue mitigation strategies. 


India's aviation regulator is reviewing pilot fatigue data obtained during surprise checks and airline surveillance to determine whether flight duty times or fatigue-related regulations need to be changed. The trial will take place on specific flight patterns using on-ground devices at four airports, including Delhi and Mumbai, and will involve the voluntary use of smartwatches and cameras that will detect drowsiness levels on each route and aircraft. IndiGo has collaborated with Thales on its tool, which employs real-time data, historical information, and predictive analysis and goes beyond traditional scheduling methods, according to the memo. Mittra said that the trial will not replace the airline's current fatigue risk management process, and pilots must continue to report fatigue based on self-assessment.

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