13.07.2004 Business & Finance

Drug, alcohol tests for BA pilots, crew

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Accra, July 13, GNA - The British Airways (BA) would from August introduce mandatory drug and alcohol testing for its 47,000 staff worldwide following embarrassing incidents in which pilots and crew members have been found to be drunk before flights.

The British national carrier is the first nation in Europe to introduce this on-the-spot regulation, which industry analysts have welcomed as a worthy step.

The Ghana News Agency Business Desk sources in London said MEDSCREEN a private British Company would conduct the tests on employees believed to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol while on duty. The Airline's in-house magazine said "testing is common in other industries and this would relate adequately to our absolute commitment to safety in the airline industry".

Last November authorities arrested a pilot and a purser in Oslo, Norway just before they were due to take flight to London on an early morning trip.

Investigations revealed that they had celebrated a Pilot's 50th birthday the night before.

British Airways rules forbid crew from drinking alcohol eight hours before a flight following a 20-milligram legal limit per 100 ml of blood for cockpit crew - four times stricter than the drink-drive limit.

Last year, a Virgin Atlantic Pilot was arrested in Washington for failing a breathalyser test while a BA Pilot failed a test in January after he arrived to lead a flight to London.

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