In a move to clamp down on the use of psychoactive substances by aviation personnel, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on August 25 released a draft procedure for examination of aviation personnel and crew members for consumption of such substances.
The move is seen as a step by the aviation regulator to ensure the safety of passengers and aircraft in case of an emergency. The DGCA has sought comments from stakeholders over the next 30 days before implementing them as regulation.
The regulator already examines aviation personnel by breath analysers to check alcohol content in their bodies before commencing flight duties.
Under the proposed draft rules, the DGCA would test for the presence of psychoactive substances like amphetamine, methamphtamine, cannabis, cocaine, opioids, barbiturates, benzodizipine and MDMA/ecstasy.
- All positive cases will have to be reported to DGCA headquarters within 24 hours and employees with positive cases shall be subjected to a rehabilitation process by the organisation before returning to active duty.
- The draft regulation also encourages airlines, air navigation service (ANS) providers, and flight training organisations (FTO) to conduct random drug testing of their employees and trainee pilots.
- Airlines, ANS providers, and FTOs will also need to ensure that flight crew members, air traffic control officers, aircraft maintenance engineers, certifying staff, trainee pilots, instructors and examiners are tested for detection of drug abuse, drug dependence and addiction before employment, and follow up testing of confirmed cases.
Alcohol and psychoactive substances cause hypoxia and reduce an individual’s tolerance with the increase in altitude and disturb the sensor-motor, visual and cortical reaction, resulting in significant deterioration of psychomotor performance. This decreases the amount of mental capacity available to deal with many essential tasks involved in the conduct of a safe flight.
If an emergency occurs in-flight, the crew member under the influence of alcohol may not be capable of dealing with the problem. The level of blood alcohol compatible with safe flying is ‘Zero’, which is also recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Information Source: Mint and moneycontrol
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