Mandatory breath analyser tests for cockpit and cabin crew from October 15: DGCA

MUMBAI: The pre-pandemic norm of mandatory breathalyzer tests for pilots, flight attendants will be back from October 15, said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in an order issued on Wednesday.
When the pandemic broke out the possible fear of contagion through shared breathalyzer device had led the regulator to introduce changes following a petition filed in the Delhi High court on the subject.
But now with Covid cases on the decline and air traffic on the rise, the Court recently permitted the regulator to resume the pre-Covid norm of mandatory pre-flight breath test for 100 % crew. However, certain precautions have been put in place on account of the ongoing pandemic.
“The doctor/paramedic/nurse etc shall scan the person for symptoms of Covid-19 disease before carrying out a BA test,” said the DGCA order.
“If a crew is detected with Covid symptoms, then he/she shall be exempted from the BA test and will be removed from duty. Such person shall undergo the required examinations and shall return to duty only after having been declared fit,” the DGCA order said. Mostly importantly, such cases shall not be treated as missed BA test, it said.
Before joining duty, the paramedic, doctor or nurse administering the test will have to undergo a rapid antigen test or any other test as approved by the state government concerned, it added.
“The breath-analyzer test to the extent feasible shall be carried out in a bigger and open area which has CCTV covering or camera recording,” it said.
Following a court order in May 2021, the DGCA, in order to check the spread of the virus, had restricted the number of breathalyser tests to be conducted in an hour to six.
On September 8, the Court modified that order and dispensed with that restriction which permitted only six tests an hour. The court also mandated that the guidelines issued by the DGCA from time to time shall continue to operate.

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