50% pilots, cabin crew to be tested for alcohol: DGCA

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New Delhi: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on Tuesday revised its rules for conducting pre-flight breathalyser (BA) tests for pilots and cabin crew with immediate effect. According to the revised norms, 50% of pilots and cabin crew members will be subjected to the random preflight BA test, an increase from the earlier stipulated 25%.

“We are trying to restore normalcy and bring back protocols ensuring safe navigation,” DGCA director general Arun Kumar said.

While 50% of the cockpit and cabin crew will now be undergoing the random pre-flight BA test, 10% of the ground handlers, air traffic controllers and other airport staff will also be subjected to the test.

“The CAR Section-5 Series-F, Part-IV is hereby restored and breath-analyzer test of applicable personnel shall be conducted as per the provisions of the CAR.IV,” said the DGCA order dated March 29.

This civil aviation requirement (CAR) covers procedures for BA examination of the personnel engaged in Aircraft maintenance, Air traffic control services, Aerodrome operations, Ground handling services for detecting consumption of alcohol.

These directions, DCGA clarified, are purely a temporary measure in view of the current Covid-19 situation and will be enforced for a period of three months from the date of issue. ‘The restoration of provisions of this CAR will be reviewed after three months,’ the order said.

“The airline’s operators shall ensure that all operation bases are covered for random pre-flight breath-analyzer examination,” the regulator’s order added.

DGCA clarified that, in the case of Flying Training Institutes, 50% of instructors and 40% of student pilots will be subjected to the pre-flight BA on a daily basis. “Operations of private aircraft too will see 50% random BA tests being conducted,” a DGCA official said.

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