Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Compulsory pre-flight breath analyser test on cards

Pilots and cabin crew of all International and domestic flights operated by Indian carriers could be subjected to compulsory pre-flight breath analyser test as the civil aviation regulator seeks to make air travel safer.

A draft of the rules unveiled by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suggests that all crew of flights originating in India as well as foreign destinations should be subjected to pre-flight medical check-up for consumption of alcohol.

At present, only 60% of the crew, both cabin as well as cockpit, undergo random checks by scheduled operators. The drive is intensified only during festival season and New Year.

“For scheduled operators, this percentage shall be on a 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-calendar day basis,” said the draft regulations.

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.

Refusal to undergo the check-up will also be considered alco-positive, says the civil aviation requirements. 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.

The DGCA has also proposed tough action on those who fail to clear the breath-analyser test. “First-time offenders and any crew member refusing to undergo the medical check-up will be kept off-duty “and his license will be suspended for a period of three months.”

The licence of the crew will be “permanently cancelled” if they are tested positive during the pre-flight medical check-up for a second time.

In case an instructor or examiner or check crew tests positive, they will lose their rating for at least three years.
The civil aviation regulator 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.

The Economic Times


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