Considering the declining trend in Covid cases in India and rising air traffic volumes, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to resume the mandatory breath analyser tests for all pilots and cabin crew across airlines. The mandatory breath analyser test rules will come into effect from October 15.

According to the previous order, the test was limited to six personnel in an hour. The DGCA has also taken note of a recent Delhi High Court order, which has dispensed with the earlier restriction.

In a notification issued on Wednesday, the country’s civil aviation regulator said breath analyser tests would be carried out in bigger and an open area, which has CCTV coverage or camera recording facilities.

The pilots and cabin crew will also be checked for symptoms of Covid prior to taking the breath analyser test. In case, a person is detected with Covid, he shall be exempted from the test, and will return to duty only after being “declared fit”. Such cases will not be treated as a missed breath analyser test case, it said.

Doctors, nurse, paramedics or EMTs shall take rapid antigen tests “or any other test for Covid as approved” by State goverments “prior to joining the duty for the breath analyser testing”, said the notification.

Testing equipment are to be sanitised using UV (ultra violet) sterilisers, the regulator’s guidelines mention.

“Now in view of reducing Covid-19 cases and increase in volume of air traffic, as a result of resumption of normal operations and also in view of dispensation granted by the Delhi High Court... it has been decided to restore...wef 15.10.2022...” said the order.

The DGCA said that during the intervening period — a one-month-odd period between September 14 (date of issue of order) and October 14 — all conditions laid down in DGCA’s March 29 order shall remain in force, except two conditions — one related to wearing of PPE by the medical staff who carry out the breath analyser test and the second being conduct of only six breath analyser test in an hour.