Sober High: Pre-flight breath analyser provision enhanced for air crews

Civil Aviation issued the directive to airlines and other aircraft operators to increase the pre-flight breath-analyser tests from the present 10 to 25 per cent. Image source: Nara.getarchive

Tightening the aviation safety checks, the civil aviation regulator has instructed all airlines to increase the pre-flight breath-analyser tests on 25 per cent of all pilots and cabin crew operations domestic flights.

Accordingly, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued the directive to airlines and other aircraft operators to increase the pre-flight breath-analyser tests from the present 10 to 25 per cent.

In a conversation with IANS, Arun Kumar, Director General of DGCA, said: “After protracted legal battles, we have been able to impose these measures. It is completely safe since the crew is anyways subjected to a RT-PCR test before the operation.”

“This move will enable strict adherence of safety norms and act as a deterrence.”

As per the order, every aviation personnel reporting for duty is required to submit an undertaking stating that he or she is not under the influence of alcohol.

Besides, the undertaking ascertains that the personnel has not consumed alcohol or psychoactive substances in the last 12 hours from the time of reporting for duty.

In case of violation, the crew’s licence can be suspended for a period of three years.

The regulator had suspended the provisions for mandatory BA tests for pilots and cabin crew due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

However, the provision was restored back in September 2020 but only on 10 per cent of air crew members operating domestic flights.

Furthermore, Kumar cited that the current norm will be reviewed periodically and it might be expanded in the future.

“We will further review the situation in a few months. If the situation demands, we might increase testing requirements to 50 per cent and ultimately to 100 per cent.”

In addition, Kumar said that more safety audits of airlines will be conducted in the coming period.

“Safety audits are an ongoing process. Now that the Covid situation seems to be coming under control, we will be carrying out more and more safety checks on the airlines,” he said.

India’s domestic air traffic has been on an upswing lately with more flight capacity being added by airlines.

India’s domestic air traffic has been on an upswing lately with more flight capacity being added by airlines.