Drivers seek temporary suspension in breath tests after co-pilot SpiceJet tests positive for crown

NEW DELHI: Pilots have sought a temporary suspension of breath analyzer (BA) testing until the scare is activated. Air india The pilot wrote to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Sunday that the machine/apparatus for the BA test remains the same, and that the drops/sprays of infected pilots can further infect healthy people.

The appeal to suspend the pre-flight and post-flight BA test was submitted hours after one of its pilots had tested positive for coronavirus. One of our colleagues, a first officer, has tested positive for COVID-19. The test report arrived on March 28. It did not operate an international flight in March 2020. The last domestic flight it operated was on March 21 from Chennai to Delhi and since then it had been quarantined at home. As a precautionary measure, all crew members and staff who had been in direct contact with him were asked to quarantine by staying home for the next 14 days, a SpiceJet spokesman said.

While schedule passenger flights, both international and domestic, are suspended in India till April 14-15 midnight as of now, airlines are operating special flights across India. The Indian Commercial Pilots 'Association (, union of erstwhile Indian Airlines' pilots), in its letter to DGCA chief Arun Kumar Sunday, has said Air india will operate 35 flights from March 31 to April 3, 2020, while seeking suspension of pre and post-flight BA tests.

He had asked the DGCA on March 20 to temporarily suspend the BA tests. Air traffic controllers in India have also moved to court for the same reason and their BA tests have been suspended for the time being, due to the crown scare.

Continuing BA testing in these circumstances is extremely dangerous. As a responsible association that has demonstrably believed in the effectiveness of BA tests before and after the flight, all we ask is that you consider the safety of our pilots and the appropriate orders to be approved ... As pilots, we are ready to proudly perform our tasks when asked ... to temporarily suspend the requirements for the BA test for pilots, said ICPA Secretary General Captain in his letter to DGCA.

... we are ready and willing to commit when requested, and also for random urine tests ... As always, we await an urgent decision on our representation, before the flight scheduled to take off on March 31, adds the Captain Keerthi's letter.

While Air india has been operating a number of evacuation flights, which started with flying Indians from corona-epicenter Wuhan in January-end, private airlines are also being roped in now.

On Sunday itself, and SpiceJet operated a flight each from Delhi to Jodhpur to take Indians evacuated from Iran. These Indian flew to Delhi on Mahan Air, an Iran carrier, and from here were flown to be quarantine in army facilities in Rajasthan. Air india has mounted dozens of flights for flying in Indians stranded in corona hotspots like China, Italy, France and Germany to Delhi and it has also taken Israelis from here to Tel Aviv.