While undoubtedly a source of hassle for those involved, alcohol and drug testing of safety-sensitive aviation personnel remains primarily mandatory in most countries around the world. world to protect public safety. To enhance security within the Indian aviation industry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has started conducting random tests. Two pilots have since become the first aviation personnel to fail doping tests this week.
The DGCA is getting tougher
Breath analyzer tests to ensure that aviation personnel are sober when reporting for work have been conducted in India for several years. It was only recently that the DGCA began randomly testing flight crews and air traffic controllers for psychoactive substances from January 31 this year. Drugs to be tested include amphetamines and amphetamine-type stimulants, opiates and their metabolites, cannabis, cocaine, barbiturates and benzodiazepines.
Random drug testing does not only apply to flight crews, cabin crew and air traffic controllers. The DGCA has ensured that it applies to aircraft maintenance engineers, certifying employees, trainees, instructors and examiners. These personnel would be tested before employing a person, before admitting a trainee pilot to flight schools, and previously positive cases would also have to be retested at the first available opportunity before being hired by a future aviation company. .
At least 10% of the aviation personnel of the same organization must undergo an anti-doping test each year. Photo: Getty Images
Sent to rehab
Personnel who test positive should be reported to the DGCA within 24 hours of detection, and confirmatory testing should be performed for double confirmation. After that, the DGCA will immediately suspend positive cases until a confirmation report is received. As for the two pilots who failed their drug tests, they were immediately suspended from flight duty, as confirmed by the DGCA:
“Both pilots failed the doping test within the past 4-5 days. Per protocol, their urine samples were tested for confirmation after the initial positive test. The samples were sent overseas for the confirmation test. Due to sensitivity and confidentiality issues and the stigma attached, the identities of the pilots and the two major Indian airlines they work for are not being disclosed.”
Since this is the first time the two pilots have failed the drug test, they will be sent to drug rehabilitation or rehab. They will only be able to return to active flight duty once the program has been successfully validated and they return with a negative drug test and a certificate of fitness from the airline doctor. However, suppose the pilots subsequently continue to test positive a second time. In this case, their license will be suspended for three years and a third offense will result in the cancellation of the license.
Photo by: Getty Images
Although the two pilots were the first couple of aviation personnel to fail the drug test since their induction six months ago, the failures still add to the disturbing statistics occurring within Of the industry. Between January and April this year, nine pilots and 30 cabin crew failed their pre-flight alcohol tests for the first time. As it was their first failure, they were suspended for three months. And those 39 were in addition to two pilots and two cabin crew suspended for three years as it was their second offence.
What is more worrying is that the massive numbers in the first four months of this year were already a close call to the total number of failed alcohol tests last year, which stood at 59 positives. , of which 19 were pilots. The release of the two positive doping test results this year further highlights the seriousness of the problem in the Indian aviation industry.
Source: India time