IndiGo is set to adopt a wrist device and utilise a ground-based tool to detect the fatigue levels of pilots. The low-cost-carrier will do this in partnership with the French aerospace conglomerate Thales Group.

“IndiGo has partnered with the Thales Group as an early adopter of their Fatigue Analysis Tool. This initiative is to develop a fatigue detection model that offers detailed insights into demographic data, including routes, pairings, crew profiles, and more, going beyond traditional scheduling-focussed biomathematical models. The programme will use real-time data, historical information, and predictive analytics, with all data collected being de-identified. We remain committed to our pilots’ well-being, ensuring their health and mental well-being, ultimately enhancing passenger safety,” said IndiGo in a statement.

IndiGo plans to conduct a proof-of-concept trial of the technology-driven interface to gauge pilot alertness levels over the next few months. Senior Vice-President of Flight Operations, Ashim Mitra, said in an internal e-mail to the airline’s employees that once the trial is concluded, they will collectively assess the effectiveness and accuracy of the data. However, they will maintain the current system, allowing pilots to request removal from duty when they feel fatigued. 

“We are currently in the process of bringing on board a reputable external consultant to enhance our fatigue risk management processes. The initiative will play a vital role in implementing a robust Fatigue Risk Management System in the coming months. This strategic step will facilitate a performance-based approach, and will enable us to develop tailored fatigue mitigation strategies based on our unique operational and organisational characteristics and the specific nature of our fatigue risks. More information will be shared with you soon,” said Mitra.

IndiGo operates approximately 1,900 flights daily with over 4,000 pilots.

Initially, these ground devices will be deployed at major IndiGo bases, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai, where pilots will undergo a brief 5-minute test. Mitra emphasised that this initiative places them at the forefront of airline safety and innovation, setting a new industry standard. It also underscores their commitment to the well-being of their pilots, ensuring their health, mental well-being, and job satisfaction, ultimately enhancing passenger safety.

This decision by IndiGo follows a tragic incident in which one of their pilots fell unconscious while on duty at Nagpur airport on August 17, leading to his death. This incident has raised concerns about increasing fatigue among flight crews, with pilots asserting that airlines were exploiting lax regulations from DGCA to extend their flying hours, potentially compromising passenger safety.