Drunk pilots & cabin crew may now land in jail for a yr
Pilots and cabin crew who down a few drinks before their flights will not only see their flying licence suspended but could also end up in jail besides paying a hefty fine, reports Saurabh Sinha.
In an unprecedented mo ve, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked Air India and Jet Airways to file FIRs or police complaints against two pilots of the carriers who recently failed their post-flight breath analyser test (BA). AI has also been asked to file a complaint against a cabin crew member over the same issue.
The DGCA’s flight safety division has asked Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani and Jet CEO Amit Aggarwal to file the FIR “within a week“ and send a copy of it to the aviation regulator.
The DGCA has already suspended the flying licences of the two commanders for four years each. For this offence, the crew can be jailed for up to a year andor be fined up to Rs 5 lakh. This is the first time we have sought police action against drunk crew. We will show zero tolerance towards such gross violation of rules,“ a senior DGCA official said.
The only time DGCA has sought police action in connection with BA tests was in 2014 when a doctor of the GMR Group was allegedly found giving clean reports to pilots of the group’s planes without conducting the BA test.
Until now, pilots and cabin crew who failed the BA test, whether in pre-or post-flight checks, were only grounded.Those failing their pre-flight medical test for the first time would lose their licence for three months, with the second and third offence attracting a suspension of licence for three years and five years.Pilots failing post-flight checks get a year added to the punishment.
The Jet pilot failed his post-flight BA test last week after operating a flight from Abu Dhabi to Chennai, while the AI pilot flunked the test earlier this week after a Sharjah-Calicut flight. The flight safety department’s move should act as a deterrent to all those crew members who like to get a little high before soaring to the skies, endangering flight safety . The action comes after repeated cases of tipsy crew operating flights or going to airports to operate them till caught and grounded. Aviation minister Jayant Sinha had last month told Parliament that 122 pilots had returned positive in pre-flight BA tests conducted in the last three years.
Of these, Mumbai airport reported the maximum detection of 34, followed by Delhi and Kolkata at 31and 18. Sinha had said the maximum number of cases of alcohol consumption were reported in 2015 (43), followed by 2013 and 2014 at 30 and 26. Last month, 20 pilots and cabin crew failed their pre-flight BA tests.
hindustan 13/08/2016: http://epaper.livehindustan.com/