Sunday, March 29, 2020

DGCA suspends breath analyser tests for aviation personnel

New Delhi: Aviation personnel, including pilots and cabin crew, have been temporarily exempted from breath analyser (BA) tests in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Sunday said this test is temporarily suspended at all airports till further notice.
The regulatory move comes after a SpiceJet pilot tested positive for corona on Saturday, after which pilots of Air India sought relaxation from this test due to fears that the apparatus used for the same could spread the infection. Pilots of other Indian carriers also backed this demand.

".. due to the extraordinary circumstances in view of the outbreak of COVID-19 and also in view of the directions issued by High Court of Delhi and High Court of Kerala (for air traffic controllers), the conduct of breath aralyser test in respect of all aviation personnel as required under subject Civil Aviation Requirements in force is temporarily suspended at all airports till turther orders," a DGCA order issued Sunday said.

"However every aviation personnel, who is reporting for duty, is required to submit an undertaking in respect of the fact that he/she is not under the influence of alcohol and that he/she has not consumed alcoholic/ psychoactive substance in the last 12 hours from the time of reporting for duty. The undertaking must also contain a warning that in case of violation of the undertaking, the licence/approval will be suspended for a period of three years," it adds.

Airlines have been asked to conduct random tests. BA test is mandatory for flight crew. The DGCA clarifies this "direction/arrangement is purely a temporary measure in view of the extraordinary circumstances due to outbreak of COVID-19. The restoration of provisions of respective Civil Aviation Requirements on the subject will be reviewed from time to time."

The Air India pilots had on Sunday written to the DGCA that the “machine/ apparatus for BA test remains the same, and that droplets/ aerosols of infected pilots may further infect the healthy.”
29/03/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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