DGCA revises rules for alcohol testing of flight crew, pilots | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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DGCA revises rules for alcohol testing of flight crew, pilots

Nov 01, 2023 08:41 PM IST

Under the DGCA norms, for all scheduled operators, each flight crew member and cabin crew member shall be subjected to a pre-flight BA test at their first departure airport during flight duty

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked the pilots and crew members of all the airlines “to not use mouthwash or tooth gel” before operating a flight as it may show the alcoholic test to be positive after it revised the rules for alcohol testing to enhance the safety of aircraft operations.

Pilots and crew members have been barred from using mouthwash, tooth gel (Representative Photo)
Pilots and crew members have been barred from using mouthwash, tooth gel (Representative Photo)

“No crew members consume any drug/formulation or use any substance such as mouthwash/tooth gel or any such product which has alcoholic content. This may result in a positive breath analyser (BA) test. Any crew member who is undergoing such medication shall consult the company doctor before undertaking flying assignment,” the DCGA said in a statement.

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Besides, several changes have been made to the norms about the procedure for medical examination of aircraft personnel for alcohol consumption.

Camera recording of the breath analyser has been mandatory for air operators engaged in seasonal pilgrimage operations.

“Camera recording of BA testing has been made mandatory for the operators engaged in seasonal pilgrimage operations and non-scheduled operators and State Governments shall also ensure the compliance of this requirement at the base station and in cases where they are away from the base station for more than two days and operate a flight from there,” the DGCA said.

The airline regulator has also made it mandatory to use fuel cell technology in the BA equipment. This is to achieve accurate and more reliable results, a DGCA official said.

“The fuel cell sensors rely on an electrochemical process that oxidizes the alcohol in a breath sample and produces an electrical current that the breathalyzer measures to determine the breath’s blood alcohol content. The fuel cell does not respond to acetone which is found in the breath of a diabetic, dieter or highly exercised individual,” said the official.

Under the DGCA norms, for all scheduled operators, each flight crew member and cabin crew member shall be subjected to a pre-flight BA test at their first departure airport during flight duty.

For all scheduled flights originating from destinations outside India, post-flight BA tests of each flight crew and cabin crew shall be carried out at the first port of landing in India, as per the norms.

According to the DGCA, any crew members or pilots testing positive in the post-flight BA test for the first time will face suspension of license for a year, and action will be initiated as per rules.

“If an expatriate pilot is caught in the same situation, then their Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorization (FATA) will be cancelled,” it stated.

The aviation watchdog further stated that if a crew tested positive in the post-flight BA test in one instance and missed the test in another or vice versa, will have to face suspension of license/approval for three years.

“If any crew member/ student pilot, after reaching the airport feels that he/she is unable to discharge his flying duties safely due to sickness, the crew member will have to intimate his company and in such case, the BA test will not be conducted and the same will not be considered as missed BA,” the revised rule stated.

The DGCA said that to prevent missed breath-analyser cases, a provision has been introduced wherein the operating crew travelling as passengers will undergo the test at the boarding station in case of ramp-to-ramp transfer for operating flight.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    I am a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. I track the aviation and railways ministry. I also write on travel trends. I cover the beats at the national level for the newspaper. Before being in Delhi, I have worked as a journalist in Mumbai as well. My hobbies include trekking and travelling.

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