Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Covid fears: DGCA relaxes breath analyser test requirement for crew members

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has relaxed the breath analyser (BA) test requirements for crew members, in wake of the uncontrolled rise in Covid cases in India and Air India pilots moving Delhi High Court seeking a suspension of this test for fearing of getting the infection while blowing in that tube. Now an Indian carrier will need to conduct pre-flight BA test on 10% — down from 25% earlier — of its pilots and crew members operating domestic flights on a daily basis, says an order issued by DGCA deputy DG Maneesh Kumar. Similarly, air traffic controllers will be also be tested randomly at each airport daily.

All crew members operating international flights will need to undergo pre-flight BA test. The requirement for private aircraft operators has not been changed due to their relatively low scale of operations that makes it easier for them to ensure sterile equipment for crew members.

“In view of the rising Covid-19 cases, DGCA has reviewed the conduct of BA test for aviation personnel… (these changes) are purely temporary in view of Covid-19 till further order and subject to outcome (of the high court case),” the order says.

The BA equipment will need to be sanitised using UV sanitisers before every use. Medical personnel conducting these tests have been asked to first check the crew member for Covid symptoms. Those found with symptoms “shall be exempted from BT test and moved from duty… This will not treated as missed BA,” the order says. They will then undergo required Covid tests and return for duty after being declared fit.

28/04/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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