India's aviation regulator DGCA on Friday extended the validity of pilots' licences that were nearing expiry by 90 days, noting that they were facing issues in completing various requirements due to the restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.
Similarly, the regulator has also extended the validity of medical assessment certificates, aircraft rating certificates, skill test certificates, etc, for a period of 90 days.
"DGCA is aware that operators and individual license holders are facing issues in completing their requirements towards renewal, issuance of various pilot licenses and ratings and to exercise the privileges of their respective licenses and ratings including temporary authorizations (FATA)," the regulator stated in a public notice on Friday.
FATA stands for foreign aircrew temporary authorization, which is issued to foreign pilots that are working for Indian airlines.
"Due to the impact of COVID-19, restrictions have been imposed by the government. Owing to this, several training organisations utilised for the training of flight crew, conduct of checks have been affected and shut down in many places," the public notice said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"Training organisations have also been shut down in many other ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) contracting states," the notice added.While more than 700 persons have been infected by the virus in India, 17 people have died due to it, according to the Union health ministry.