DGCA orders tests to detect tipsy aviation personnel

DGCA orders tests to detect tipsy aviation personnel

India's civil aviation regulator on Monday ordered random breath analyser tests on all aviation personnel, including air traffic controllers, aircraft maintenance engineers, drivers of catering and refuelling vehicles, ground handling workers at all airports.

Currently, breath analyser tests were mandatory only for pilots and cabin crew to ensure their sobriety before operating aircraft, but the fresh directives by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) bring in all the personnel engaged in handling sensitive aviation services at the airside.

The tests are set to begin on October 30 at major airports such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Lucknow and Guwahati.

The DGCA directive stated that at least 10% of the personnel “employed in their respective organizations (category wise)” must be randomly subjected to breath analyzer examination on a daily basis.

“If any personnel is tested positive for alcohol for the first time, or refuses to undergo the test, or attempts to evade it by leaving the airport premises, then he or she must be kept off duty and their license/approval shall be suspended for a period of three months,” it said.

The rules stated that “in case of second violation of the provisions, the license/approval issued by DGCA of the concerned personnel shall be suspended for a period of one year.”

According to DGCA, the aviation personnel under the ambit of these rules include aircraft maintenance engineers, other technically trained person authorised to carry out maintenance of aircraft, vehicle drivers who drive fuelling and catering vehicles, equipment operators, aerobridge operators, marshallers, personnel manning apron control, ground handling services personnel as well as ATC personnel.

It stated that on 33 other airports, including the ones in Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Trivandrum, Indore, Patna, Amritsar, Bhopal, Surat, Nagpur and Coimbatore, the rules would have to be implemented by November 30.

On all other remaining airports, the rules have to be implemented by December 31.

The DGCA has tasked the airport operator for the conduct of the breath analyser test on the personnel of the ground handling agency and aerodrome operational personnel, while the airline operators, air navigation service provider, maintenance organisations for their employees.