Air India, Airlines, DGCA

Air India union opposes DGCA’s mandatory alcohol test warning

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Why the aviation regulator has not conducted any audit for the past two years, asks Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association.

An Air India pilot union has expressed apprehension over the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)’s reported warning to pilots for not complying with post-flight breath analysis test on international flights.

“We have come to know that DGCA is contemplating suspending licences of 132 pilots and 400 cabin crew…Kindly enlighten us as to why DGCA official in charge of Air Safety did not conduct any audit for the past two years,” Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) General Secretary Captain T. Praveen Keerthi said in a letter to DGCA chief B.S.Bhullar on Monday.

The DGCA had taken post-flight breath analysis data on two flight sectors – Kuwait-Goa-Chennai and Dubai-Goa-Bengaluru. The regulator found that pilots and cabin crew failed to undergo post-flight breath analysis test at Goa – the first arrival point in India.

However, the post-flight breath analysis test conducted at the final destination, in this case Chennai and Bengaluru airport, showed that pilots were fully compliant. Air India said in a statement last week that it was fully complying with all directives issue by the DGCA and the management had misinterpreted the DGCA rules.

“DGCA rules indicated that all schedule flights originating from destinations outside India, post flight breath analysis examination of each flight and cabin crew is to be carried out on reaching India,” an Air India spokesperson said.

‘Rules misinterpreted’

“This has been interpreted by the airline management as requirement to carry out post-flight medical after completion of their flight which gets over at the final destination,” he added.

ICPA said that Air India management didn’t provide medical facility at transit stations as the DGCA rules was misinterpreted “putting the onus between the management of Air India and DGCA and not on the pilots or crew members.”

The pilot union also questioned why flight data for two sectors was inspected from the entire network of Air India, “that too recent past three months and not from the CAR effective date of 4th August 2015.”

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