India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) failed nine pilots and 32 cabin-crew members in their pre-flight alcohol tests between January 1 and April 30. “Of them, two pilots and two cabin-crew members have been suspended for a period of three years for being positive for the second time,” the DGCA said in a statement.
The remaining seven pilots and 30 cabin-crew members were suspended for three months as they tested BA (breathalyser) positive for the first time, it added. According to the DGCA, four pilots and 10 cabin-crew members of IndiGo, one pilot and five cabin-crew members of Go First, one pilot and six cabin-crew members of SpiceJet, one pilot of Air India Express and four cabin-crew members of AirAsia India failed the pre-flight alcohol tests in the said period.
One pilot and two cabin-crew members of Vistara, one pilot of Alliance Air and five cabin-crew members of Air India also failed the test, the aviation regulator said. The DGCA had stated last month that airlines must ensure that 50 percent of their cockpit and cabin-crew members are subjected to pre-flight alcohol tests on a daily basis.
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Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, all crew members were required to undergo pre-flight alcohol tests. When the pandemic struck, the tests were suspended for a couple of months. Subsequently, the tests were resumed but for only a small percentage of crew members.
“During the period of four months commencing from January 1, the DGCA has carried out 48 enforcement actions for violations of various requirements of the regulation regarding testing of crew for the consumption of alcohol,” the aviation regulator said.
Apart from the action against the 41 crew members (nine pilots and 32 cabin-crew members), the DGCA has also acted against seven crew members for “missing BA tests or not furnishing the declaration.”
India resumed full scheduled international flights on March 27 after two years of Covid-induced suspension. The country resumed full scheduled domestic flights on October 18 last year.
(With inputs from PTI)