Airport, airline staff fail drink test
Thirteen employees of airlines and airports have failed breathalyser tests since September 16 and been suspended for three months each, an official with the directorate-general of civil aviation said on Monday.
Among them were seven IndiGo employees and one airside worker each of GoAir and SpiceJet, he said. (The airside is the area beyond security checks and passport and customs control in an airport terminal, where entry is restricted.)
The other four included two Bangalore airport employees — a senior assistant and a manager at the airline operations control centre — a senior airport electrician in Mumbai working for a sub-contractor, and an aerobridge operator at Delhi airport, he said. The last two tested positive on October 18 and 21, respectively.
“Thirteen employees of various types have been found positive in the voluntary phase. The mandatory phase begins in November,” the official with the aviation regulator said.
“Most (airside employees) are involved in safety-sensitive functions at airports and (drunkenness among them) can be a potential source of a serious incident or accident.”
On September 16, the aviation regulator had issued rules for the tests to be conducted at all airports on airside workers, including those handling aircraft maintenance, air traffic control and ground-handling services.
Any employee who tests positive for the first time or refuses to undergo the test or attempts to evade it by leaving the premises “must be kept off duty and their licence/ approval shall be suspended for a period of three months”, the rules say.
“The employers have taken punitive action as proposed in the Civil Aviation Requirement (Rules) and we acknowledge their cooperation and support,” the DGCA official said.
He said that of the seven IndiGo airside workers who failed the test, two were customer service officers, four were drivers and one a cleaner. The suspended SpiceJet and GoAir employees were a driver and a senior ramp officer, respectively.
According to the rules, “In case of second violation of the provisions, the licence/ approval issued by DGCA of the concerned personnel shall be suspended for a period of one year.”
At least 10 per cent of the personnel “employed in their respective organisations (category wise)” must be randomly subjected to breath analyser tests every day, the rules say.
The new rules cover more than 25,000 aviation personnel who handle sensitive aviation services.
Among them are aircraft maintenance engineers, other technically trained people authorised to carry out aircraft maintenance, drivers of fuelling and catering vehicles, equipment operators, aerobridge operators, marshallers, employees manning apron control, and ground-handling services and air traffic control personnel.