DGCA proposes testing of aviation personnel for psychoactive substances

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has for the first time proposed testing of aviation personnel for psychoactive substances such as cannabis, opioids and their variants, officials said on Friday.
The civil aviation watchdog stated that once the regulations are finalized, flight crew members and air traffic controllers (ATCs) would be subjected to this examination at six airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad — in the first phase.
The tests would consist of screening test and a confirmatory test. Screening test will be carried out at the airport or the ATC complex and will be recorded on video.
If a person is found positive in the screening test, then the confirmatory test will be carried out in one of the DGCA-approved laboratories.
The testing would be done at random under the supervision of the DGCA officers of and will cover 10 per cent of employees of each organisation in a period of one year, the regulator noted.
For the testing, personnel’s urine sample would be used, it added.
If any person is found positive in the screening test, he or she will be removed from safety sensitive duties till the results of the confirmatory test are received, the regulator stated.
If the confirmatory test is also positive then the person will be subjected to rehabilitation and will return to active duties only after having undergone the tests for the consumption of the psychoactive substance, clearance by treating psychiatrist and the certification by the Chief Medical Officer of the organisation concerned.
“If after return to safety sensitive duties, a person again tests positive in the confirmatory test, the license of the involved person will be cancelled,” the DGCA asserted.
If a person refuses to undergo examination, he or she would be taken off the safety sensitive duties and will be required to clear “detailed drug testing profile” within a week, failing which his or her license will be suspended for three years.
This is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) policy and procedures which has already been prescribed by other leading aviation agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the USA and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the DGCA stated. (agencies)