The Indian aviation industry is contemplating a ban on the use of perfumes by pilots and flight attendants, as proposed by the Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in its updated guidelines.
India is mulling over the prohibition of perfumes for pilots and flight attendants within its aviation sector. The DGCA, responsible for overseeing the country’s aviation operations, has recently put forth amendments to its regulations regarding alcohol consumption. This proposed ban encompasses not only alcoholic beverages but also other substances like perfume.
The existing guidelines already make reference to substances other than alcoholic drinks that may lead to a positive breathalyzer test, such as mouthwash. However, the newly introduced section explicitly includes perfume in the list.
It states: “No crew member shall consume any drug/formulation or use any substance such as mouthwash/tooth gel/perfume or any such product which has alcoholic content.”
The directive further specifies: “Any crew member who is undergoing such medication shall consult the company doctor before undertaking a flying assignment.”
The consideration of banning perfume is driven by the fact that many fragrances contain alcohol, which could potentially yield a false-positive result on a breathalyzer test.
The official air safety regulations of the DGCA were ratified in August 2015, and this proposed addition is open for public commentary until October 5.
Pilots and cabin crew members routinely undergo pre-flight breathalyzer tests, which are some of the strictest alcohol regulations for aircrew globally. Even a minimal amount of alcohol can result in an immediate three-month license suspension, considered a favorable outcome.
According to aviation sources monitoring test results, in 2022 alone, 41 Indian pilots and 116 cabin crew members had their licenses temporarily suspended due to positive alcohol tests.
The proposed ban is aimed at addressing the possibility of false-positive breathalyzer outcomes and ensuring the highest level of aviation safety. The DGCA is determined to uphold sobriety standards essential for pilots and crew members by prohibiting the use of alcohol-containing items.
Drunkenness among pilots remains a global concern for the aviation industry. In 2018, Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, a Japan Airlines pilot, received a 10-month prison sentence after a post-takeoff breath test revealed a blood alcohol level nine times the legal limit. In the United States, a Delta pilot named Gabriel Lyle Schroeder was removed from a fully boarded aircraft before takeoff due to suspected alcohol impairment.