13 SEP 2017: A union representing Air India pilots says the air regulator DGCA is presiding over an inadequate system of alcohol tests for flight crew. The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association says the current testing policy is counter-productive and needlessly puts aircraft operations in jeopardy.  

The DGCA has said hundreds of Air India crew had systematically avoided post-flight checks on inbound international flights and had threatened to ground personnel.

While protesting a plan to suspend more than 500 crew members, the union questions why there are no qualified medical personnel to conduct pre-flight tests for Indian airline crew at international departure points.

Currently a post-flight test is made on landing back in India – which admittedly is a case of closing the barn door after the horse has galloped off.

"We would also like to know why no doctors are present at international stations to perform breath analyzer test for any Indian carriers? Are senior officials working in connivance with private carriers to save their cost?"

"We strongly believe pre-flight medicals should be done before a flight and not at first or second port of landing in India after a flight endangering the safety of innocent flying passengers," the union wrote in a strongly worded letter to government officials.

Pilots have said tests are not carried out overseas as airlines find it difficult to secure sufficient medical staff to conduct tests.

The air regulator hinted it may ground flight crew guilty of evading the tests in various phases due to the sheer number, however the union says this violates current rules.




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