A grouping of Air India pilots on Friday urged civil aviation regulator DGCA to temporarily suspend mandatory breath analyser tests before and after a flight amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), which represents pilots of narrow-body planes, has written a letter to the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) in this regard.
"It is in light of this epidemic, and the ease with which the disease gets transmitted, that we seek temporary suspension of the mandatory requirement for such pre-flight and post-flight tests.
"Blowing into the apparatus for the purpose of the test inside small testing chambers leaves scope for contagion to spread. Multiple personnel also require queuing up, and complete sterilisation of such equipment used for the test is also not being done," the letter said.
Even if such sterilisation of equipment is conducted, it still leaves scope open due to the manner of conduct of the test itself, it added.
In the letter, the grouping has also mentioned about a Kerala High Court order which directed suspending breath analyser tests.
Under the Aircraft Rules, crew members are not allowed to consume alcohol 12 hours before the commencement of a flight. All crew members are subjected to mandatory breath analyser tests prior to operating a flight as well as post the flight, in case pre-flight test is not possible as per the rules.
Earlier this month, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which represents pilots of wide-body aircraft of Air India, had written to DGCA seeking exemption from the mandatory pre- and post-flight alcohol tests.
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