Pilots and crew members cannot use mouthwash, tooth gel or any such substance that has alcoholic content, as that could result in a positive reading of the breath analyser test, according to revised norms issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Besides, various changes have been made to the norms pertaining to the procedure for medical examination of aircraft personnel for alcohol consumption.
In an official release on Wednesday, the aviation regulator said it has revised the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on procedure for medical examination of aircraft personnel for alcohol consumption with the objective of enhancing safety of aircraft operations coupled with streamlining provisions of the existing regulations in line with feedback from industry and stakeholders from time to time for more effective implementation.
“No crew member shall consume any drug/formulation or use any substance such as mouthwash/tooth gel or any such product which has alcoholic content. This may result into positive breath analyser test. Any crew member who is undergoing such medication shall consult the company doctor before undertaking flying assignment,” the DGCA stated.
The aviation watchdog, in the draft CAR, had proposed barring crew from using any “drug/formulation or use any substance such as mouthwash/tooth gel/perfume or any such product which has alcoholic content”. Yet, the word ‘perfume’ is not included in the final CAR.
According to DGCA, breath analyser equipment with fuel cell technology has been made mandatory and a procedure for oversight and surveillance of calibration agencies has been introduced.
“To prevent missed breath analyser cases, a provision has been introduced wherein the operating crew travelling as passengers shall undergo breath analyser test at the boarding station in case of ramp to ramp transfer for operating flight,” it said in the CAR dated October 30.
Among other requirements, camera recording of breath analyser testing has been made mandatory for the operators engaged in seasonal pilgrimage operations and non-scheduled operators. Also, State governments should ensure the compliance of this requirement at base stations and in cases where they are away from base station for more than two days and operate a flight from there.
“If any crew member/student pilot after reaching the airport feels that he/she is unable to discharge his flying duties safely due to sickness, the crew member will intimate his company and in such case the breath analyzer test shall not be conducted and the same will not be considered as missed BA.
“However, the crew member/ student pilot shall not be rostered for flying duties on that day and subsequently shall be rostered for flying duties after review by the company doctor,” the release said.
To facilitate the operators specially in general aviation, the regulator has enhanced the scope of facilities for undergoing the breath analyser examination.
Under the DGCA norms, for all scheduled operators, each flight crew member and cabin crew member shall be subjected to pre-flight breath analyser examination at first departure airport during a flight duty period.
For all scheduled flights originating from destinations outside India, post-flight breath analyser examination of each flight crew and cabin crew shall be carried out at the first port of landing in India, as per the norms.
Stringent punishments are in place when a crew tests positive in a breath analyser test, depending on whether it is repetitive. It is applicable for both pre- and post-flight tests.