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    DGCA introduces tests to check pilots for psychoactive substances

    Synopsis

    Currently, aviation staff have to go through breath-analyser (BA) checks that detects just the alcohol content in the body and not other drugs. The DGCA had last year started conducting BA test on ground staff too and have found as many as 131 violations by ground staff, ET had reported it first on February 8.

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    NEW DELHI: In an attempt to ensure that pilots flying your planes or ATC officers guiding them are not high on dope or other such drugs, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to has ordered to now test flight crew and air traffic controllers (ATCO) for such drugs.

    DGCA chief Arun Kumar has ordered “random drug testing for the consumption of (10) psychoactive substances” like cocaine, marijuana/hashish, MDMA or ecstasy and morphine/opiate. A pilot or ATCO testing positive for drug abuse for the first time will be grounded and made to undergo de-addiction/rehabilitation programme. Failing for the second time will mean cancellation of licence, which means such a person will not be able to work as a pilot or controller again.

    Currently, aviation staff have to go through breath-analyser (BA) checks that detects just the alcohol content in the body and not other drugs. The DGCA had last year started conducting BA test on ground staff too and have found as many as 131 violations by ground staff, ET had reported it first on February 8.

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    According to the order these tests will be carried out post-flight (for crew) or post-shift (for ATCOs). People refusing to undergo this test “shall be removed from the safety sensitive duties until they clear detailed drug testing profile within a week, failing which the license of the involved person shall be suspended for three years.

    Testing will be done by a DGCA-authorised laboratory at six airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad in phase 1. Airlines and Airports Authority of India (which provides ATC services) “shall ensure that at least 10% of (their flight crew and ATCOs) are covered in a year.”

    Testing will be done on urine samples collected from the randomly selected employees. Samples shall be collected only with consent of the person required to undergo test.

    Apart from random checks, pilots and ATCOs will have to be tested for drug abuse at three stages: before getting hired; after an accident and follow-up testing of confirmed cases. All positive cases will have to be reported the DGCA within 24 hours.
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    3 Comments on this Story

    pk s336 days ago
    the dgca must also relook at the breadth alcohol limits of 0.000 at which pilots are grounded and suspended.
    a pilot found to have breadth alcohol above 0.000 for the first time is suspended? discounting that first offence can be letoff with a serious or severe warning especially when no offence is committed as pilots dutyfully submit for test believing they are clean if they have followed set guidelines and when the developed countries and all over the world they apply a limit above 0.002 as objectionable and punishable.
    I wonder how much the govt loses in 34-45% income tax from these suspended pilots salaries and gets one third of their punishment and airlines lose out on badly need pilots because breadth alcohol limits applied are puritanical and not realistic or practical and they don't even use blood alcohol test which is accurate as primary test or even for reconfirmation before applying punishment.
    Captain337 days ago
    How about DGCA recommending these tests for our MP & MLA’s... and All Govt officials...... it will be fun to watch the results.... Jai Hind
    User 337 days ago
    Nice Article
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