Though the number of pilots “caught drunk” while reporting for duty has been increasing over the years, officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) feel that the system of checks and balances is robust and there is no need for any changes in the existing system.
A senior DGCA official, who did not wish to be named, told The Sunday Guardian: “The system that has been put in place by the DGCA is working ‘perfectly’ fine as pilots are getting caught drunk and there is no need for the DGCA to set up an independent body for monitoring alcohol tests. If there was a lacuna in the system, pilots would never have got caught.” He further added that pilots cannot be completely stopped from drinking as “all humans are not the same”. “Wherever there is human intervention, there would be some cases of errant behaviour. We cannot completely stop the menace of drunk pilots because humans are bound to make errors,” the DGCA officer cited above said.
Civil aviation experts, however, argue that to bring an end to the menace of drunk pilots, the DGCA must conduct mandatory tests by an independent body and should not leave things to the airlines as they mostly succumb to the pressure of the pilots’ lobby within the airlines. Read more