According to a new Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) proposal, pilots and cabin crew caught drunk a second time before operating a flight could get away with a lighter punishment. The proposition is to bring down the punishment for a second offence from five to two years.
As per present rules, crew failing the breath analyser test the first time is grounded for three months while a second offence results in grounding for five years.
The aviation regulator has proposed that crew caught drunk the second time is suspended for two years while those caught the third time be suspended for five years.
“Coming drunk is a criminal offence that should not be condoned. If the DGCA is diluting rules it shows they have no concern for safety,” said aviation safety expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan. In most western countries such an offence would land the pilot in jail, he said.
DGCA has suggested that no crew member shall consume any drug or use any substance (mouthwash, tooth gel), which has alcoholic content and those undergoing medication shall consult the company’s medical expert before undertaking flying assignment.
The regulator has proposed that even aircraft maintenance personnel be subjected to alcohol tests. “Aircraft maintenance personnel authorised for taxiing aircraft shall be subjected to breath analyser check for alcohol consumption before undertaking any taxi operation of the aircraft,” say the draft rules.