Drug and alcohol testing for airline personnel

Wednesday, 17 May, 2006

The Federal Government is amending the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations to mandate drug and alcohol testing for all safety sensitive airline personnel, and may also require random testing.

Safety sensitive personnel include: cabin crew, flight crew, pilots, air traffic controllers, ground refuellers, baggage handlers, security screeners and other personnel with airside access.

The moves follow a Department of Transport and Regional Services and CASA review arising from a fatal plane crash on Hamilton Island in which it was found that the pilot had traces of alcohol and cannabis in his blood.

The 27-year-old Australian pilot, a New Zealand family of four, and an American man on his honeymoon died when the six seater plane crashed on Hamilton Island 20 months ago.

In its investigation the Australian Transport Safety Bureau couldn't find any conclusive evidence that the pilot was intoxicated when the plane crashed after stalling, but it recommended a review of training and another look at random drug and alcohol tests for pilots.

As a result of the review, the Government has decided that new CASA regulations will be introduced which will now mandate Drug and Alcohol testing for all safety sensitive personnel and possibly also require random testing.

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