The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has proposed daily random breathalyser tests for at least ten per cent of staff employed in airside operations.
This would be the first time such tests, already commonplace in countries such as the US and the UK, were introduced in India, where testing is currently compulsory only for pilots and cabin crew.
“This is a huge step. It will help in making air transportation safer. Everyone working on the airside operations whether it is the ground handler, technician etc will be covered under this. For example, in Delhi, it will cover as many as 20,000 people. This will go a long way in bringing more discipline into the system,” said a senior official quoted by CNBC-TV18.
The scope of the testing proposals put forward by the DGCA extend to personnel in ground handling, air traffic control and maintenance and repair operations, as well as fire and rescue staff, vehicle drivers and flight dispatchers.
The DGCA has suggested the use of a computer-based random number generator, a random-number table, or another scientifically valid method to select employees for testing, to remove human bias from selection.
“The employer must ensure that all employees have an equal chance of being tested each time the selections are made. Specific individuals or groups must not be targeted, including certain occupational groups or locations,” stated the proposal.
The consequences of failing a breathalyser test would be an initial suspension of three months, with a second violation prompting a one-year suspension, three years for a third violation and finally a fourth time the license of the employee would be cancelled by the regulator.
Stakeholders will now submit feedback to the proposal over the next 30 days.