Air Travel Latest News: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday instructed airlines to resume pre-flight breath analyser alcohol tests for pilots and cabin crew members even as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Also Read - International Flights: Dubai Asks Air India Express to Reject COVID-negative Reports of Passengers From 4 Indian Labs
After the central government imposed a nationwide lockdown, the aviation watchdog had on March 29 suspended breath analyser tests for “all aviation personnel” including pilots, cabin crew members, ground handling staff and air traffic controllers due to the “extraordinary” circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also Read - Delhi Airport Terminal-2 to Resume Operations From October 1 With Nearly 100 Daily Flights
“In partial modification of the DGCA order… dated 29.03.2020, this is to convey that the employer/organization shall ensure flight crew member and the cabin crew member shall undergo pre-flight BA test,” said a DGCA circular dated September 4. Also Read - International Flights: Saudi Arabia Permits Outbound Passenger Flights to India Under Vande Bharat Mission
As a result, 10 per cent of pilots and crew members will undergo pre-flight BA test every day in domestic flight operations, whereas for international flights, “100 per cent preflight BA examination shall be carried out per day”, the DGCA said.
It must be noted that the alcohol test will continue to remain suspended for aviation personnel other than pilots and cabin crew members.
As per the March 29 order, airline personnel has to submit an undertaking that he or she is not under the influence of alcohol and that he or she has not “consumed alcohol/psychoactive substance in the last 12 hours from the time of reporting for duty”. Any personnel found in violation had to give up their license or approval would be suspended for three years.
While commercial international flights still continue to be suspended, the government said that it will continue Vande Bharat Mission under specific bilateral arrangements through air bubbles.
Meanwhile, domestic flights resumed in India on May 25 after remaining suspended for two months due to the coronavirus-infused lockdown.