The country’s aviation regulator on Monday grounded a co-pilot and three cabin crew personnel after they tested positive on a surprise pre-flight alcohol test conducted at the Mumbai airport on New Year’s Eve.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), three of the cabin crew personnel benched for reporting drunk on duty are employed with Jetlite, Kingfisher Airlines and Indigo Airlines respectively. The co-pilot who tested positive during the breath analyser test is employed with Indigo.
“At present, they cannot operate a flight for three months. We are going through records of previous offenders. If any of them feature in that list, their licence would be cancelled,” said a DGCA official, requesting anonymity.
An Indigo Airlines spokesperson confirmed that a cabin attendant and a first officer were taken off duty after they tested positive during the breath analyser tests. “We treat such matters with utmost seriousness. There can be absolutely no comprise on safety,” said the spokesperson.
A Jet Airways spokesperson also said that it has included pre-medical checks in their flight operation manual to control the problem. Kingfisher Airlines did not respond to HT’s calls and a query sent to them by email.
The DGCA had conducted similar surprise checks on December 25. However, none of 333 flight attendants and pilots tested were found to be under the influence of alcohol.
Last year, the civil aviation ministry had amended rules for severe punishment for flight crew reporting drunk at work.
According to the amendment, pilots caught the first time round are grounded for three months. Flying licences of second-time offenders are permanently cancelled. Since the DGCA faces a shortage of safety officers, it had also directed airlines to conduct pre-flight alcohol tests regularly last year.