Breath tests for alcohol for crew of Indian flights

Taking note of incidents of drunken flying, the Civil Aviation regulator has decided to crack the whip and proposed compulsory pre-flight breath tests.

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2010, 00:38 AM IST

New Delhi: Taking note of incidents of
drunken flying, the Civil Aviation regulator has decided to
crack the whip and proposed compulsory pre-flight breath tests
for alochol for both pilots and cabin crew of all domestic and
international flights operated by Indian carriers.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in its
bid to make air travel more safe has also proposed tough
action on those who fail to clear the breath-analyser test.
Also, if anyone refuses to take the test the person will be
considered alco-positive.

According to a new draft which is an extension of Civil
Aviation Requirement of 2009 issued by the DGCA, all crew of
such flights originating in India as well as foreign
destinations should be subjected to pre-flight medical
check-up (PFMC) for consumption of alcohol.

The DGCA has also proposed a post-flight medical check
on the crew, which should be done during their duty hours
after disembarkation of passengers, and if found guilty their
licence will be surrendered forthwith.

At present, only 60 per cent of the crew, both cabin as
well as cockpit, undergo random checks by scheduled operators.
The drive is intensified only during festive and new year
season.

"For scheduled operator this percentage shall be on
daily basis and for other operators like non-scheduled ones,
air taxi operators, state government aircraft operators and
private category operators, the percentage is be worked out
on a 15-calender day basis," says the draft CAR released by
DGCA chief Nasim Zaidi.

The cabin crew will be subjected to the test twice
during a flight. If any member tests positive, he or she will
not be allowed to operate the flight. Even if any of the crew
refuses to undergo the PFMC, he or she will be considered
alco-positive, says the CAR.

For first time offenders or if any of the crew refuses
to undergo PFMC or breath-analyser test, then "he or she
will be kept off-duty and his license will be suspended for a
period of three months."

And the licence of the crew will be "permanently
cancelled" if they are tested positive during the PFMC for a
second time.

"Any member attempting to evade the test procedure by
leaving airport premises before undergoing the complete test
procedure will be considered to have tested positive," the new
proposal says.

In case of an instructor or examiner or check crew, if
tested positive during the PFMC then they will lose their
rating for at least three years.

PTI