Russian airlines and air traffic control centers intend to introduce obligatory alcohol and drug tests for pilots and flight control officers, officials with the Ministry for Transport said.
The Transport Ministry has prepared amendments to the Air Code of the Russian Federation. The bill is likely to be sent to the government this spring.
One of the key proposals from the Ministry for Transport is to introduce obligatory procedures to test the state of health of crew members of civil aircraft and air traffic controllers to identify signs of alcohol, drugs or other toxic substances, including residual effects. Such medical examinations are to be conducted before and after flights for pilots and before and after work shifts for flight control officers.
Currently, most airlines conduct such preflight examinations, although the procedure is not regulated by law. A paramedic conducts a visual inspection of each member of the crew, measures their pulse, body temperature and blood pressure.
Last summer, pilots of United Airlines were arrested at Glasgow airport, Scotland, when trying to pass a preflight examination while intoxicated. Drunken pilots had boarded the aircraft bound to Newark, but someone made a timely report to the police.
A year earlier, passengers of North Wind airline refused to fly with drunk pilots to Egypt's Sharm El Sheikh. The passengers suspected that the crew members were drunk and demanded additional medical examination for the pilots and other crew members.
Pilots and flight attendants on AirBaltic (Latvian air carrier) were arrested for drinking alcohol before departure in 2015. A Norwegian court sentenced a Latvian co-pilot to six months and flight attendants to 45 and 60 days in jail for drinking two bottles of whiskey and some beer before flying to Crete with about 100 passengers on board.
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