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25% ATC, ground staff to undergo breath analyser tests from June

Published:

NEW DELHI: From this June a quarter of

air traffic controllers

(ATCO) and

ground staff

at airports – including those doing aircraft maintenance and driving vehicles at tarmac – will undergo breath analyser (BA) test – up from current 10% – to prove they are tipsy when reporting for their safety-sensitive jobs. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (

DGCA

) Thursday amended the rule to “further enhance the level of safety and (as) an effective step in view of increase in air traffic and ground movements at airports,” said a senior official.

TOI had reported this on Wednesday.
“DGCA has revised (relevant rules) on procedure for BA examination of personnel engaged in safety sensitive work such as aircraft maintenance, ATC services, aerodrome operations and ground handling services for detecting consumption of alcohol,” the official said.
Also the regulator has mandated that under the amended rules – which will be effective in three months with time being given for making the required preparation – only the more accurate fuel cell technology based BA equipment will be used for conducting these tests. “BA test percentage has been increased from 10% to 25% for employees involved in safety sensitive duties…. The revised (rule) will be effective after three months from the date of issue in order to provide adequate time to industry to suitably enhance the existing infrastructure for BA test at various locations,” the official added.
BA tests have long been mandatory for all pilots and cabin crew. Five years ago the regulator had prescribed this test for personnel engaged in aircraft maintenance, air traffic control services, aerodrome operations and ground handling services. These include ATCOs, flight dispatchers, fire & rescue personnel, vehicle drivers (including catering and refuelling vehicles) ground equipment operators and ground handling personnel.
When this test was started for non flight crew members, a beginning was made and to test the waters we started with checking 10% personnel randomly.

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