A total of 60 pilots and 150 cabin crew members tested positive following the breath analyzer (BA) test in the last two and a half years. Breath Analyzer tests are conducted to ensure aviation safety is not compromised due to the consumption of alcohol by pilots and cabin crews.
During the period from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022, as per the provision of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section-5, Series-F, Part-III, no license has been cancelled. However, a total of 210 pilots and crew members have been suspended.
According to a Parliament reply on Thursday, there is a systematic safety oversight process in place for monitoring the compliance of Rules and Civil Aviation Requirements by the airlines. “This is a continuing process and includes surveillance, spot checks and regulatory audits embodied in Annual Surveillance Plan (ASP) of DGCA. The findings of safety oversight exercises are followed up with the concerned operator for compliance and the observations are closed only after due verification,” said the reply.
The compliance of the action taken by the operator is verified during the next audit and surveillance. In case of any violations or non-compliance to regulations detected during audit and surveillance, enforcement action including financial penalty is imposed by the DGCA.
DGCA in its guidelines had earlier said that airlines must ensure that 50 per cent of their cockpit and cabin-crew members are subjected to preflight alcohol tests on a daily basis.
As per DGCA advisory, even 12 hours after a bout of drink, when blood alcohol level remained zero, there could be a decrease in performance. “Alcohol present in body even in small quantities jeopardizes flight safety on several counts and is likely to adversely affect an aviator well into the hangover period.