Fearing transmission of Coronavirus, the government on Sunday has suspended the Breath Analyser (BA) test of all aviation personnel as required by rules till further orders. The decision came hours after SpiceJet said that one of its pilots, who did not fly any international flight in March, has tested positive for the virus.
"Every aviation personnel, who is reporting for duty, is required to submit an undertaking in respect of the fact that he or she is not under the influence of alcohol and that he or she has not consumed alcohol/psychoactive substance in last 12 hours from the time of reporting for duty," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated.
The aviation regulator further noted that if the undertaking submitted by the aviation personnel is violated, his or her license or approval will be suspended for a period of three years.
The DGCA also maintained that the suspension of the tests is temporary. Under the Civil Aviation Requirements, all aviation personnel such as pilots, ground handling staff and air traffic controllers have to undergo breath analyser tests from time to time.
Earlier on Sunday, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) had told the DGCA through a letter that continuing BA Tests in amid the COVID-19 outbreak is "extremely dangerous" as the machine for the test remains the same and droplets or aerosols of infected pilots may infect the healthy. The letter from the ICPA, which is a union of Air India's pilots who fly on domestic routes and short-haul international routes, came after SpiceJet said one of its pilots has tested positive for the virus.
(With inputs from agencies)