Drunk on duty: 14 pilots, 54 crew members failed breathalyzer test in 2022

Fourteen pilots and 54 crew members tested positive when subjected to an alcohol breath analysis test between January to June 2022.

By Coreena Suares  Published on  24 July 2022 5:11 AM GMT
Drunk on duty: 14 pilots, 54 crew members failed breathalyzer test in 2022

Hyderabad: Fourteen pilots and 54 crew members tested positive when subjected to an alcohol breath analysis test between January to June 2022. Indian airports carried around 83 million domestic passengers registering a growth rate of 59% as compared to 2020-21. However, compared to the pre-pandemic domestic passenger traffic of around 136 million (2019-20), the traffic in 2021-22 has declined by 39%, revealed the ministry of civil aviation.

Minister of state for civil aviation General. Dr. V.K Singh (retired), in a statement in the Lok Sabha, said, "During the period 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2022, as per the provision of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section-5, Series-F, Part-III, no license has been canceled. However, a total of 210 pilots and crew members have been suspended. Only a few pilots and cabin crew have tested positive in the breath analyzer (BA) test in recent years."

With regard to the plunge in domestic flights, challenges like the high cost of aviation fuel, foreign exchange variations, constrained airport infrastructure, and highly price-sensitive customers, and above all, safety aspects play an integral role.

Flyers concerned about safety

According to a recent study conducted by LocalCircles, many air travelers are no longer keen on taking a flight. The survey found that while the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued notices to airlines post the recent safety incidents, 77% of the respondents admitted to being concerned about safety when they or their family was undertaking domestic air travel.

This comes after a spate of mishaps in a span of fewer than 20 days that revealed that airlines may be cutting corners on aircraft maintenance, thereby putting passenger safety at risk. This concern cannot be overlooked considering that on 5 July, three aircrafts belonging to different airlines showed up to be not airworthy.

While IndiGo and Vistara airlines reported smoke and engine shut issues during their flight operations, a SpiceJet freighter plane had a technical malfunction leading to the cancellation of a flight to China. In the case of SpiceJet, there have been eight instances of technical malfunction in recent times.

According to LocalCircles, 44% of the respondents traveling on domestic routes said they were avoiding SpiceJet flights over safety concerns; 21% each said they were avoiding travel on Air India and Indigo and Go First is being avoided by 18% of domestic air travelers. Six per cent said they have been avoiding travel on Vistara due to safety concerns while 12% said they give Air Asia a pass due to safety issues.

Another question asked flyers was is safety a concern for them when they or their family members are traveling by flight. In response, 42% said they were concerned while 35% said they were only concerned if they were undertaking travel via a select few airlines; 16% of respondents said they were not concerned at all while 7% did not have an opinion.

During the last three years, the number of pilots and cabin crew who have tested positive are as under:

Year 2020

Piolts -27

Crew Members-56

2021

Pilots - 19

Crew Members- 40

2022 (upto 30th June)

Pilots-14

Crew Members- 54

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