Pilots returning from or reporting for duty will be able to enter the cockpit of an aircraft but those travelling for vacation will be allowed to travel only as passengers, as per the latest order issued by the
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
"The idea is to allow the entry to those pilots who are reporting for duty or coming back to base after duty and bar the entry of those who are returning or travelling for vacation. The breath analyser test has also been made mandatory for all those who enter the cockpit other than the cabin crew, first officer and pilot in command," a senior official said.
No person shall enter the cockpit and occupy the jump seat during the flight time unless she or he is a crew member, or an officer of the civil aviation department or India Meteorological Department authorised by DGCA to perform official duties in the cockpit of an aircraft, DGCA order has specified.
"Subject to being authorised by the operator, the pilot can enter the cockpit but has to undergo breath analyser test and suffer the same consequence as the one on duty if they fail (the test)," the official added.
An official in the ministry of civil aviation of the rank of joint secretary and above who by virtue of his or her functions may enter the cockpit for inspection, or an employee of the aircraft operator who has the permission of pilot in command and whose duties are such that his or her entry into the cockpit is necessary for safe operation of the aircraft has also been allowed to enter the cockpit, DGCA order stated.
Permission has also been granted to officials of the airline who have been deputed for familiarisation of flight for better practical understanding and knowledge of the functions of the instruments used in the cockpit provided prior permission has been obtained from pilot in command or any flight crew member of the aircraft operator who has been authorised by the aircraft operator and has the permission of the pilot in command, whose presence in the cockpit shall be beneficial for the overall safety of operations.
A duly authorised representative of the manufacturer of the aircraft who is required to observe the techniques used by pilots and monitor the instruments provided prior permission of the pilot in command has been obtained for such entry or any person authorised by DGCA has also been granted access.
Pre-flight and post-flight breath analyser test will be mandatory for all the above-mentioned categories, DGCA added.
The order comes two months after an Air India pilot, not designated as a crew member or additional crew member, was scheduled to travel in the cockpit of flight AI-502 from Delhi to Bengaluru and tested positive in pre-flight breath-analyzer test.As a result, the DGCA had barred off-duty airline officials, including pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers, from travelling in the cockpit "even when they are on leave or have not been assigned any duty whatsoever."