NEW DELHI: In view of the declining trend of Covid-19 cases, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday issued guidelines to resume mandatory breath analyser test for all pilots and cabin crew. Earlier, due to Covid-19, only six such personnel were allowed to undergo the test in one hour.
The decision has been taken in view of falling Covid-19 cases and an increase in the volume of air traffic as a result of the resumption of normal operations, said DGCA. The breath analyser test, known as an alcohol test, is a mandatory pre-flight and post-flight test for pilots and cabin crew.
On Tuesday, taking note of a plea moved by DGCA, the Delhi High Court said that the conduct of breath analyser test (BAT) for staff of ATC, commercial pilots, cabin crew, and other staff members shall continue as per the guidelines issued by the DGCA in light of the status of Covid-19 pandemic.
Justice Pratibha M Singh passed this direction on the plea moved by DGCA seeking modification in the order of May 11, 2021. Later, the court granted liberty to DGCA to move an application seeking modification at a later stage. However, the court, for the time being dispensed with its earlier direction mandating that only six personnel shall be tested in one hour, in view of increase in air traffic and reduction in Covid-19 cases.
The court while passing the order, refused to allow the request to conduct BAT as per pre-Covid protocol i.e allowing medical staff to conduct BAT on others in the testing area without conducting their own Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). Thus, at this stage, the said test will continue to be mandatory, in terms of the order of May 11, 2021, the court said.
These directions are passed on the application of DGCA sought certain modifications in the earlier order. It was submitted by the counsel for DGCA for dispensing with the requirements that doctor and any other paramedics/nursing personnel on duty, will take a RAT for Covid prior to joining duty in the testing area, for administrating BAT and also permission to conduct the BAT test as per pre-Covid protocols.
The High Court earlier passed the directions in May 2021 mandating the RAT of the medical staff before conducting BAT for aviation staff including other directions. (ANI)