NEW DELHI: Air traffic controllers and personnel performing aircraft maintenance, airport and ground handling operations may soon be required to undergo breath analyser (BA) tests before they reach their place of work, according to a draft proposal by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

DGCA chief Arun Kumar has mooted the proposal to expand the scope of aviation personnel for BA tests to enhance safety.

Currently, only pilots and cabin crew have to mandatorily undergo these checks pre-flight for domestic flights and post-flight also for some international flights.

“Organisations engaged in the provision of air traffic control services, aerodrome management, aircraft maintenance and repair, ground handling agency, aircraft operation. (These include) air traffic controllers (ATCOs), flight despatchers, fire and rescue personnel, vehicle drivers, ground equipment operators,” read a draft proposal by the DGCA.

The regulator has proposed that “organisations engaged in the provision of air navigation services, aerodrome management, aircraft maintenance and repair, shall ensure that at least 10% individuals employed in their respective organisations as engaged in such functions are randomly subjected to BA examination on daily basis.” The DGCA wants a system to be devised for this testing so “that all employees have an equal chance of being tested each time the selections are made.”

While licensed personnel like ATCOs will have their licence suspended for three months and be grounded for this period for failing the BA test first time or refusing to undergo the test, for non-licensed personnel like ground handling staff, the action to be taken will be decided by the service provider, according to the draft.

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For second violation, a licensed personnel’s licence will be suspended for a year. And non-licensed personnel will “be removed from performance of safety related function”.

Third violation will mean getting licence suspended for three years and fourth time will lead to cancellation of licence.



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