Cracking the whip on tipsy pilots, aviation regulator DGCA has come up with stringent rules under which the licence of a cockpit crew would be suspended for three months for the first offence and cancelled for five years if he gets caught for the second time.
This is the new rule has been put in place now by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) after several pilots belonging to different Indian carriers were caught drunk in the pre-flight tests in the recent past.
For the first offence, such pilots would be kept off flying duty and his licence suspended for three months. The licence would be cancelled for five years in case he is caught again.
In case a senior pilot, like an instructor, examiner or a check pilot, is detected positive during the pre-flight medical examination, he would lose his position "for at least three years in addition to the action" already recommended, the rules said.
The airlines have also been asked to "record, maintain and submit the BA Positive data to the DGCA office on monthly basis," the rule says.
Flight crew are not allowed to drink 12 hours before operating flights.
Recently, the DGCA deprived a senior Air India commander, who was also its Flight Operations Inspector, of his Training Captain status and removed from all administrative duties for three years after he failed the breath analyser test.
According to data presented in Parliament, 57 tipsy pilots were caught between January 2009 and November 2010, but only 11 were dismissed.
DGCA has also asked airlines to improve the alco sensors to carry out these pre-flight checks. These sensors are a hand-held breath alcohol tester providing accurate method of determining alcohol concentration in a person's breath.