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Dear D. Norkus


In a International commercial flight one hour before departure the pilot or copilot reports unwell, sick due to fever, cold, viral or bacterial infection etc.

1. The Flight is cancelled informing the passengers.
2. The Flight is delayed and the flight takes off after the pilot or copilot becomes well informing the passengers.
3. A Backup Pilot or Copilot (who either is unwell) is called by the
airlines carrier and the Flight takes off informing the passengers.

Which among the above three is the aviation rule does the airline carrier follows for the above scenario ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

There are no aviation "rules" that govern such situations. Crew Scheduling simply does what they can to replace the crew member or the flight cancels if one is unavailable.

If another pilot is available in that city, who has had legal rest to perform the flight (perhaps at the hotel for a different trip) they can be substitued while a replacement for that pilot's flight will then be located next. If not, crew scheduling will send in a reserve pilot as soon as they are able. Depending on how far the pilot must be flown and how frequent the airlines flight schedule is to that city, it may be a while until they can replace the ill crew member.  If a significant delay is expected, the flight may or may not be canceled but crew scheduling does not make that decision. Operational control will decide what is the best course of action after assessing the extent of the expected delay to crew the flight.

Regards, D.


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D. Norkus


I can address questions about airline pilot employment & entry level airline careers in the United States, women pilots, flight training, pilot certification, U.S. flight scholarships (mostly for women), aviation & airline safety topics, aviation accident investigation and airline operations. ***Please note, I cannot address flight training & career queries from outside the United States, or aero engineering degree programs/careers, aviation management topics. ****


Airline captain with 15 years past experience in airline ground operations. I have previously flown as a commercial skydive pilot & ferry pilot and majored in Aviation Science

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Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; Aviation Safety/Accident investigation.

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