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Breath analyzer test: DGCA updates guidelines; crew members and pilots are not permitted to use mouthwash or tooth gel

According to updated guidelines released by aviation regulator DGCA, pilots and crew members are not permitted to use mouthwash, tooth gel, or any other product that contains alcohol since this might result in a positive breathalyzer test.

In addition, a number of modifications have been made to the standards concerning the process for medical examinations of aviation workers to determine alcohol intake.

The Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on the procedure for medical examination of aircraft personnel for alcohol consumption have been revised, according to a release from the DGCA on Wednesday. The revisions aim to improve the safety of aircraft operations while also streamlining the existing regulations’ provisions in response to input from stakeholders and the industry on a periodic basis.

“No crew member may use or ingest any medication, formulation, mouthwash, tooth gel, or other product that contains alcohol.

“This might lead to a positive breathalyzer test result. According to the DGCA, “any crew member receiving such medication shall consult the company doctor prior to undertaking flying assignment.”

A prohibition on the use of any “drug/formulation or use any substance such as mouthwash/tooth gel/perfume or any such product which has alcoholic content” was recommended by the watchdog in the draft CAR.

‘Perfume’ is not mentioned in the final CAR.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reports that a process for monitoring and supervising calibration agencies has been implemented, and that breath analyzer equipment including fuel cell technology has been required.

“To prevent missed breath analyser cases, a provision has been introduced wherein the operating crew travelling as passengers shall undergo breath analyser test at the boarding station in case of ramp to ramp transfer for operating flight,” according to the CAR dated October 30.

 

In addition to other restrictions, operators participating in seasonal pilgrimage operations and non-scheduled operators must now record breathalyzer tests on camera. State governments should also make sure that base stations follow this rule, especially if they are operating a flight from a location that is more than two days distant from base station.

“A breathalyzer test will not be administered and the incident will not be counted as a missed breathalyzer test if any crew member or student pilot feels, upon arriving at the airport, that they are unable to carry out their flying responsibilities safely due to illness.

“However, the crew member/ student pilot shall not be rostered for flying duties on that day and subsequently shall be rostered for flying duties after review by the company doctor,” the press statement said.

The regulator has expanded the range of venues for taking the breath analyzer test in order to make it easier for operators, particularly in general aviation.

Every member of the flight crew and cabin crew for all scheduled operators is required by DGCA regulations to undergo a pre-flight breath analyzer check at the first departure airport while on flight duty.

Every flight crew member and cabin crew member will undergo a post-flight breath analyzer check at the first port of entry into India for all scheduled flights that originate from places outside of India, in accordance with regulations.

Depending on whether a crew member’s positive breathalyzer test result is repeated, harsh penalties may apply. It may be used for testing conducted before and after takeoff.

 

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