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Don't drink and come to work: DGCA proposes strong norms

Ashoke Raj | Updated: Aug 07, 2019 21:58 IST

By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], Aug 7 (ANI): The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has prepared a draft proposal on breath analyser (B.A) tests for all those involved in flight operations.
Air traffic controllers (ATC), aircraft maintenance engineers (AME) and those handling ground operations may soon be required to undergo breath analyser tests before they start their work at the airport.
The DGCA has drafted a proposal on the above issue.
DGCA chief Arun Kumar mooted the proposal to expand the scope of aviation personnel for BA tests to enhance safety.
At present, only pilots and cabin crew have to mandatorily undergo these checks pre-flight for domestic flights and post-flight also for some international flights.
"Organisations engaged in the provision of air traffic control services, aerodrome management, aircraft maintenance and repair, ground handling agency, aircraft operation. (These include) air traffic controllers (ATCOs), flight dispatchers, fire and rescue personnel, vehicle drivers, ground equipment operators," said the draft proposal accessed by ANI.
The aviation regulator has proposed that organisations engaged in the provision of air navigation services, aerodrome management, aircraft maintenance and repair, shall ensure that at least 10 per cent individuals employed in their respective organisations and engaged in such functions are randomly subjected to breath analyser examination on a daily basis.
The DGCA wants a system to be devised for tests to be conducted testing so that "all employees have an equal chance of being tested each time the selections are made."
"It is a well-known fact that alcohol is a sedative, hypnotic, and addicting drug. It impairs judgment and leads to behaviour that can easily contribute to or cause accidents," the regulator observed.
While licensed personnel like ATCOs will have their licences suspended for three months and grounded for this period for failing the BA test first time or refusing to undergo the test, for non-licensed personnel like ground handling staff, the action to be taken will be decided by the service provider, according to the draft.
For a second violation, a licensed personnel's licence will be suspended for a year. And non-licensed personnel will be removed from the performance of safety-related functions.
A third violation will mean getting licence suspended for three years, while a fourth time will lead to cancellation of licence.
Federal Aviation Agency, USA and Civil Aviation Authority, UK have developed and published their policy for detection of consumption of psychoactive substances, including alcohol, by personnel engaged in safety-sensitive functions.
DGCA has uploaded the said Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) and invited comments till September 5. Based on the feedback, the aviation watchdog will publish the final CAR.