Delhi HC has suspended breath analyser test through tube process for air traffic controllers till March 27 in view of COVID-19 outbreak. The Air Traffic Controllers’ Guild (India) had moved Delhi High Court over the suspension of the Breath Analyser Test during the COVID 19 outbreak in India. ATC guild sought direction to Directorate General of Civil Aviation & Air Authority of India (AAI) to understand the potency of contamination via Breath analyser test, at a time when entire country is fighting to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
Several letters were written by ATC guild to Aviation regulator DGCA, Airport Authority of India and lastly, an appeal was made to PM Modi to intervene and stop the usage of Breath Analyser for all the officials on duty in the wake of COVID 19. Despite the efforts made, no response was received by the ATCO.
An ATC official speaks to Republic TV over moving to Delhi high court, “Kerala High Court has stayed BA test for airports in Kerala. The Writ Petition was filed by Guild. In Delhi this will be heard in court.The process of BA Test for ATCOs started four months back. For decades we maintained safety level without BAT. Inflexible attitude of DGCA has disturbed the ATCOs and functioning which may affect safety.”
“During current pandemic conditions, usage of the Breath Analyser Test is highly unhygienic and can be an avenue for spreading of the virus to a lot of people. It is indeed a deadly disease and no cure has been found it is the responsibility of the guild to ensure the safety of our officers,” added the ATC.
The letter addressed to PM also assured that officers' integrity is high and all are responsible enough to not break any protocol and put anybody’s life at risk.
“When GOI had taken initiative to close the CORONA chapter in India in Stage Il itself, the acts like BAT for ATCOs may backfire. In fact GOI even banned biometric attendance and all state governments banned BAT for drivers, which are less dangerous than BAT of ATCOs. Anytime an ATCO can be infected by the deadly and highly infectious virus in BAT. If only one ATCO got infected, the whole shift will and the whole airport needs to be closed,” stated the letter written to PM Modi.
Air Traffic Controllers’ Guild (India) is hopeful, Delhi high court will understand the urgency and requirement during these troubled times and decide in ATC officers' favour.