From News.com.au: Increase drug and drink tests for pilots
AIRLINES should test their own
pilots and crews for drugs and alcohol more often, an analyst said
yesterday, after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said it "can't be
everywhere at once".
CASA figures show 45 airline crew members have tested positive over
the past four years, with the latest being a female senior Qantas pilot
who was taken off her plane last week when her co-pilot noticed her
unsteady appearance while the plane was readying for take-off.
But CASA said yesterday it didn't have the capacity to test every airline employee before every flight.
Peter Gibson said the authority conducted thousands of tests every year
but "the numbers of positive tests are very, very small".
down to around 45 positive tests from 54,000, so around 0.08 per cent,
which provides no real indication that there's a widespread problem," he
"While the tests we conduct are very stringent, obviously we can't ensure that all pilots are tested before each flight."
August 30, cabin crew aboard a noon Qantas flight from Sydney to
Brisbane noticed the female pilot was unsteady. The crew notified Qantas
operations, who told the flight to return. A replacement pilot was
It is believed the captain was breathalysed and is now withheld from duties on full pay while the event is investigated.
pilots are intermittently tested by CASA, the authority said it relied
on airlines to conduct their own drug and alcohol tests when possible.
It is believed the standard blood-alcohol limit for pilots is 0.02 per
A senior aviation analyst who declined to be named said CASA
should be more transparent regarding the type of aviation employees who
had tested positive. "These pilots are very well paid and hold the
lives of hundreds of passengers in their hands," they said.