With incidents of pilots and cabin crew reporting drunk for flight duty increasing, as reported by the Hindustan Times on Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is planning to issue stricter guidelines to control the menace.
“Pilots and cabin crew reporting drunk for duty is common — mainly around Christmas and New Year. But we end up catching some pilots whenever we conduct surprise checks,” revealed a senior DGCA official. Approximately 50 pilots and cabin crew are caught every year. Over 20 such cases have already been detected this year alone.
The DGCA will send out circulars to airlines for stricter implementation and increase the number of surprise checks at airports. “Plans for stricter, new guidelines are still at a nascent stage,” the official said. DGCA chief Kanu Gohain could not be contacted for his comments.
On Saturday, a JetLite flight to Patna (S2-321) was cancelled after a team of the airline’s doctors discovered that the pilot was drunk during a breath analyser test. Airline CEO Maunu Von Lueders said action would be taken after final test results arrive and the pilot has been given a hearing.
According to the Indian Aircraft Act, the pilot or cabin crew cannot consume any intoxicant 12 hours before a flight. If doctors detect any trace of alcohol, the flight has to be cancelled and action taken by against the crew. “There should be no alcohol in their system at all — which means even consuming one peg would prevent them from flying,” the official said.
“Intoxication can prove to be dangerous, especially during landing,” said former DGCA chief H.S. Khola.