Saturday, February 22, 2020

Flight crew, air traffic controllers to undergo random drug tests

New Delhi: In a bid to make flying safer, flight crew and air traffic controllers (ATCO) will now be tested for drug abuse, just like the breath-analyser (BA) checks to ensure they are not tipsy.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief Arun Kumar has ordered “random drug testing for the consumption of (10) psychoactive substances” like cocaine, marijuana/hashish, MDMA or ecstasy and morphine/opiate. A pilot or ATCO testing positive for drug abuse for the first time will be grou- nded and undergo de-addiction/rehabilitation programme. Failing for the second time will mean cancellation of licence, which means such a person will not be able to work as a pilot or controller again.

People refusing to undergo this test “shall be removed from the safety sensitive duties until they clear detailed drug testing profile within a week, failing which the license of the involved person shall be suspended for three years,” the order stated.

While a start has been made with key positions, the DGCA will gradually bring more aviation personnel under the drug test. Testing will be done by a DGCA-authorised laboratory at six airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad in phase 1. Airlines and Airports Authority of India (which provides ATC services) “shall ensure that at least 10% of (their flight crew and ATCOs) are covered in a year.”
22/02/20 Times of India
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