View Full Version : Breathalyser at Stansted ?

9th Apr 2001, 17:44
I've just been told that they are going to start random breath testing at stansted.Apparently only those involved in safety of flight positions ie. Flt. crew ,Gnd eng's & ATC .A level of alcohol equivalent to a half pint of beer will constitute a fail. Is this kosher info ? ,& 'above all' would it be legit'(being a lower level) ?.

[This message has been edited by ragspanner (edited 09 April 2001).]

9th Apr 2001, 21:15
Speaking as an ex plod (now an ATCO), this has been discussed in detail previously on the ATC forum.

Basically, until new legislation s passed through parliament, which will define a specific limit and the powers of authorised persons to require a sample, then they cannot legally require you to take a breath test.
This does not preclude companies from exercising company policy, but it's a legal minefield at the moment, especially with the advent of the Human rights legislation.
Random testing would be an infringement of human rights, you could only be tested if an authorised person (probably a police officer) had reasonable grounds to suspet you had been drinking (i.e could smell it on your breath), or after an incident whereby safety was compromised.
If it was the former of the two, and there was no alcohol at all found in your system, then you have reasonable grounds to sue the @rse off them and make a killing!!!

Hope that helps!!!

Turn left heading 230, close from the left, report established

9th Apr 2001, 21:48
As I predicted here last year:

>>...I'm sure you will see alcohol testing the U.K. after the recent glare of publicity stirs up public sentiment. Other American innovations like random drug tests and locked cockpit doors will catch up with you as well.<<


This is indeed a legal minefield and careers are at stake. In America the emphasis is on treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment. We've been doing random aircrew testing for years, it's pretty much a nonevent from my experience. The safeguards seem to work and I do think we all are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs than before.

Here's a good FAQ on breath alcohol testing in the U.S.:


9th Apr 2001, 22:59
I hate to be a bore, but I see nothing wrong with breath testing pilots/atcos or anyone else who works airside.
Speaking as someone who is quite capable of drinking large amounts of ale and remaining vertical, I know for a fact that I wouldn't be able to do the job if I'd had half a pint of shandy, never mind anything stronger.
When I was younger I often worked with people who came to work smelling of booze, and although I objected to it strongly, I only once did anything about it, I was promptly told to get back in my corner and shut up if I valued my career.
:mad:It might sound terribly pretentious to say it, but anyone who is desperate enough to drink to excess the night before, or even have one on the way to work or at work, shouldnt be anywhere near aeroplanes.

9th Apr 2001, 23:21
Some similar discussions & some useful information at http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/Forum1/HTML/013294.html

Personally, no problem with random testing of booze/drugs BUT the rules must be published & the testing administered correctly.

9th Apr 2001, 23:22
From the Department of the Environment,
Transport and the Regions web site:

News Release 148:
19 March 2001

Flight plans for safety in our skies

Plans to improve safety in the air by introducing alcohol and drug testing and a blood/alcohol limit for safety critical aviation personnel were unveiled today by Aviation Minister Bob Ainsworth.

A limit of 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100millitres of blood is proposed for aircraft crew, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers. The limits will also apply equally to such personnel in the commercial and leisure sectors, and to those people flying or working with aircraft in their free time.

Commenting on the proposals, Mr Ainsworth said:

"We are proposing the limit following a consultation exercise. The vast majority of responses to the consultation supported the preferred option of introducing the 20mg limit for safety critical personnel. The proposed limit is that recommended by the body representing civil aviation regulatory authorities in Europe. Introducing the limit for UK aviation underlines our determination to improve safety in the air.

"Under the new proposals it will remain a criminal offence for safety critical aviation staff to be engaged in work whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, the proposed introduction of a blood/alcohol limit and new police powers to test suspected offenders will act to further enhance standards and protect the public."

The proposals for safety critical aviation personnel were outlined as part of a wider Safety Bill in the Queen's speech.

The announcement was made by Mr Ainsworth in answer to a written Parliamentary Question by Dr Phyllis Starkey, MP (Milton Keynes, South West). The full text of Mr Ainsworth's Answer is attached.

Notes to editors
1. The United Kingdom is a member of the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), a body representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of the majority of European States whose aim is to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures. In order to harmonise these standards the JAA issues Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) which do not have the force of law, but which Member States agree to adopt as soon as possible. The JAA agreed Joint Aviation Requirements - Operations 1 (JAR-OPS1) in 1996. This addressed a large number of operational procedures, including the establishment of a blood/alcohol limit of 20mg/100ml for aircrew.

2. The issue of the intoxication of pilots was sharply drawn to public and Government attention in 1991 by an Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into a fatal accident involving a light aircraft crashing near Boreham Wood. A sample of the pilot's blood indicated an alcohol content of 325mg/100ml. The AAIB report recommended that the Air Navigation Order in existence at the time be amended to require aircrew suspected of an offence under its provisions to provide a sample for testing.

3. In July 1996 the Government issued a consultation paper setting out various options for the introduction of a blood/alcohol limit for aviation personnel. The vast majority of responses to the consultation exercise were supportive of the Government's preferred option of introducing the 20mg/100ml limit for safety critical personnel. In the light of the positive responses received, the Government has sought a suitable legislative opportunity to take these proposals forward.

4. Under existing legislation, the Air Navigation Order 2000 (ANO) provides that it is an offence for certain safety critical personnel to carry out their duties whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, the ANO does not prescribe a blood/alcohol limit, nor are there powers to test a suspected offender.

5. The proposals broadly follow the framework of existing road traffic legislation. The Government will introduce a 20mg/100ml limit alongside the offences of carrying out aviation related activities whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police will be granted powers to require a person reasonably suspected of having committed one of the offences, to provide a breath or other specimen for analysis. Failure to supply a specimen without reasonable excuse will be a further criminal offence.

6. It is intended that the new offences will apply to the crew of an aircraft, air traffic controllers, flight information service officers and aircraft maintenance engineers whilst the same are on duty or otherwise carrying out aviation related activities. The offences will extend to all such persons within the United Kingdom, irrespective of nationality, and to the crews of British registered aircraft anywhere in the world. No distinction will be drawn between the commercial and the leisure sectors or to the fact that the person is flying or working with aircraft in his or her free time.

7. The intention is to enhance further the already high safety standards currently applied to aviation within UK airspace.

Dr Phyllis Starkey (Lab - Milton Keynes South West):

63 To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, if he will introduce alcohol and drug testing for aviation personnel; and if he will make a statement. [154540]

Mr Robert Ainsworth

The Queen's speech on 6 December announced the Government's intention to draft a Safety Bill. We will use this opportunity to introduce a prescribed blood/alcohol limit for safety critical personnel in aviation, and to take permissive powers to allow testing for drugs.

We propose to set a 20 milligram per 100 millilitre blood/alcohol limit for aircraft crew, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers, while also granting to the police the necessary powers to test suspected offenders. This limit is in line with an agreed Joint Aviation Requirement for aircrew and will apply equally to safety critical aviation personnel in the commercial and leisure sectors, and to those people flying or working with aircraft in their free time. It also reflects the positive responses to a Government consultation paper issued in July 1996, which proposed this limit.

It will continue to be a criminal offence to be engaged in an aviation related activity whilst unfit though the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is our belief that these proposals will further enhance safety in our skies.

9th Apr 2001, 23:52
Just don't over do it!