An air traffic control officer (ATCO) who was working at Delhi-Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in India failed a drug test.
A DGCA spokeswoman confirmed to The Times of India on August 21, 2022, that the controller had tested positive for psychoactive substances after taking a random test on August 18, 2022.
A DGCA spokeswoman stated, “A confirmatory test was done on the ATCO placed at DEL airport and that too showed up non-negative.”
The DEL airport employee has promptly pulled off duty in accordance with the DGCA’s instructions.
Although the DGCA has been checking employees’ breathalyzers for both airline and airport employees for a number of years, the regulator recently added a new measure to ensure employees’ sobriety while executing their job duties.
The DGCA has mandated random, mandatory drug testing for ATC controllers, flight crew, and cabin crew since January 31, 2022, with the aim of checking at least 10% of the workforce.
The test includes the use of a variety of psychoactive substances, including cannabis, cocaine, opiates, amphetamine, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines.
The new guidelines provide that if someone fails a drug test once, the outcome should be verified by a subsequent test after they return for duty.
If the second test also yields a positive result, the individual is placed on administrative leave and sent to treatment before being allowed to resume their job.
A worker’s license will be suspended for three years if they test positive frequently. According to the DGCA guidance, frequent offender will eventually permanently lose their license.
Since the DGCA implemented its new guideline, it was the first time an air traffic controller failed the test. Three pilots, though, had already tested positive.