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Indian Pilots' Body Seeks Temporary Suspension of Breath Analyzer Test to Curb Covid-19 Transmission

Image for representation. (Image source: Reuters)

Image for representation. (Image source: Reuters)

In March 2020, the DGCA had suspended the practice before resuming it in September followed by gradual increase in the number of crew being tested.

The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) has sought temporary suspension of pre-flight breath analyser test to curb the transmission of coronavirus amid the rising number cases in the country on a daily basis. In a letter to the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA), the association has also said that despite operating critical evacuation flights disregarding certain risks and uncertainties, and in some cases even proper support from the operators, the authorities had failed to recognise flight crew as frontline workers despite the risks involved in operating flights during the pandemic.

Noting that pre-flight and post-flight breath analyser tests are mandatory in terms of the said Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), the ICPA said that in light of the rise in ease with which the virus is getting transmitted, it has sought “temporary suspension of the mandatory requirement for such pre-flight and post-flight tests".

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“Blowing into the apparatus for the purpose of the test inside small testing chambers leaves scope for the contagion to spread," it said.

In March 2020, the DGCA had suspended the practice before resuming it in September followed by gradual increase in the number of crew being tested.

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first published:April 14, 2021, 17:11 IST