Coronavirus: Civil Aviation Ministry says coordinating with states to ensure cargo flight operations

After SpiceJet stated on Sunday that one of its pilots has tested positive for COVID-19, an Air India pilots union requested aviation regulator DGCA to temporarily suspend breath analyzer (BA) test as it can lead to spread of infection.

Referring to the Spicejet pilot’s case, a letter by Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) stated that “continuing BA Tests in these circumstances is extremely dangerous” as the machine for the test remains the same and droplets or aerosols of infected pilots may infect the healthy.

The BA test involves blowing into a machine to check alcohol content. All flight crew are subjected to mandatory BA tests prior to operating a flight as well as post the flight in case pre-flight test is not possible, according to the rules.

CPA represents an Air India union that represents pilots who fly domestic flights and short-haul international flights.

“As a responsible association which has demonstrably believed in the efficacy of the Preflight and Post Flight BA Tests, all we ask is that safety of our pilots be considered by you and appropriate orders be passed,” it added.

Earlier, the Indian Pilots Guild had urged the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to exempt pilots from the mandatory pre and post-flight alcohol tests in the wake of coronavirus scare.

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