THE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has conducted a random alcohol and drug tests on 87 licensed aviation personnel from two airline and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) of which a crew member tested positive to psychoactive substance and has been immediately suspended by the Authority from carrying out further flight operations.
This exercise was in compliance to a directive from the Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman.
In a statement signed by General Manager Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, the Advisory Circular, NCAA – AMS – 004 which was duly communicated to all involved and titled “Drugs and Alcohol Policy for Air Operators Certificate holders, Air Navigation Service Providers and other aviation stakeholders” was issued to the aviation industry on 1st July,2016 by the Authority.
The 87 personnel tested were randomly selected from two airlines, Air Peace, Medview and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) as they were about to embark on flight operations and air traffic control duties.
There were 29 (nos) Pilots 10 and Cabin crew 19 from Air Peace Ltd while 42 (nos) Pilots 9 and Cabin crew 32 were from Medview Airlines.
Others were from Air Navigation Service Providers, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), 16 (nos) of licensed Air Traffic Controllers and Trainees. 10 (nos) Licensed ATC and 6 (nos) Trainees are from the Control Tower and TRACON Centre.
However, out of the 87 personnel tested, only one crew member tested positive to psychoactive substance, Tetrahydro – Cannabinol (Marijuana) and was immediately suspended by the Authority from carrying out further flight operations.
Further investigations were later carried out to ascertain the quantity of the substance in the urine sample of the crew member.
Quite clearly, the crew member violated the provisions of Part 220.127.116.11. (a) and Part 18.104.22.168(a) (3) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015).
NCAA has therefore sanctioned the offending aircrew in accordance with the provisions of Part 22.214.171.124(f) (i) and Part 126.96.36.199(c) of Nig.CARs 2015.
The Medical Certificate and License of the aircrew has been suspended for 180 days from the 5th day of April, 2017.Accordingly, the respondent shall cease to exercise the privileges of the License for the period of his suspension.
In addition, the crew member shall within 7 (seven) days of receipt of Letter of Sanction, hand over the License to the Authority’s Director of Licensing (DOL).
The aircrew shall undergo a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation for psychoactive substance abuse during the suspension period under the care of a Consultant Psychiatrist.
At the end, the report of the Consultant Psychiatrist shall be reviewed by the Authority’s Consultant Psychiatrist Adviser. This is to enable NCAA consider possible restoration of the suspended Medical Certificate and License.
The random drug and alcohol tests for Licensed Aviation Personnel will be carried out periodically to rid the industry of menace of crew members and ATCs conducting flight operations under the influence of psychoactive substance which could jeopardize flight safety.
The exercise was conducted by Medical Assessors from the Aeromedical Department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in the statement revealed that it will continue to carry out consistent surveillance on the aviation industry to ensure full compliance with extant Regulations. Failure will however, attract adequate sanction.