Investigation launched into SIA pilot who failed alcohol test, only reported case in 10 years: CAAS

Investigation launched into SIA pilot who failed alcohol test, only reported case in 10 years: CAAS

A man walks past a Singapore Airlines signage at Changi Airport in Singapore
A man walks past a Singapore Airlines signage at Changi Airport on May 11, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is investigating the case of a Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot who failed a random alcohol test before his flight from Melbourne on Saturday (Sep 15). 

This is the only case in 10 years to be reported to CAAS, the authority said in its response on Tuesday to media queries.

Mr Alan Foo, director (airworthiness and flight operations) at CAAS said on Tuesday that it takes a serious view of the incident and is investigating the case. 

He said: "In the last 10 years, this is the only case that has been reported to CAAS."

On Saturday morning, flight SQ247 from Melbourne to Wellington was cancelled after the SIA pilot failed an alcohol test which was conducted by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority on all crew members before the flight.

According to an SIA spokesperson, the pilot "did not pass the test due to having higher than suitable blood alcohol limit" and has been suspended from all operations amid investigations.

READ: Singapore Airlines flight from Melbourne cancelled after pilot failed alcohol test

"CAAS views substance/alcohol abuse by pilots very seriously. It is an offence for any person, including a pilot, when acting as a member of the crew of an aircraft operating out of our airports or for Singapore-registered aircraft, anywhere it is operating, to be under the influence of alcohol," Mr Foo added.

He said an offender may be subject to a fine of S$100,000 and/or imprisonment not exceeding five years, adding that it is the "responsibility of each pilot to ensure that he or she does not commit such an offence".

Detailing the steps airlines are required to take, Mr Foo said Singapore carriers must further ensure that their flight crew abstain from alcoholic drinks for at least eight hours prior to operating a flight. 

READ: Singapore Airlines pilots not allowed to consume alcohol within 10 hours of flight

He added that pilots and cabin crew may report to CAAS if they suspect that a member of the flight crew is under the influence of substance or alcohol. 

"On top of this, airline pilots licensed in Singapore have to undergo an annual medical assessment, which includes an assessment of his or her alcohol consumption habits, in addition to the physical examination and medical investigations that are usually carried out," Mr Foo said.

Source: CNA/mn/(hm)

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