NCAA Conducts Alcohol, Drug Test on Airlines, ATC Personnel


• Suspends cabin crew who tested positive to marijuana
Chinedu Eze
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced that it conducted a random alcohol and drug tests on licensed technical personnel of two airlines and Air Traffic Control of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The agency said the objective of the exercise was to ensure safety, and that it was directed by the Director General, Capt. MuhtarUsman, in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulatory standards.

The spokesman of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye said the directive duly communicated in an Advisory Circular NCAA – AMS – 004 titled: ‘Drugs and Alcohol Policy for Air Operators Certificate holders, Air Navigation Service Providers and other aviation stakeholders,’ issued to the aviation industry on July 1, 2016, by the authority.

The agency said a total of 87 personnel from two airlines; Air Peace, Medview Airline and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) of NAMA were tested and they were randomly tested as they were about to embark on flight operations and air traffic control duties.
“There were 10 pilots and 19 Cabin crew from Air Peace Ltd while nine pilots and 32 Cabin crew were from MedviewAirlines.

Those tested include 10 pilots and about 19 cabin crew from Air Peace; nine pilots and about 32 cabin crew from Medview and 16 Air Traffic Controllers from NAMA.
Others were from Air Navigation Service Providers, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), 16 of licensed Air Traffic Controllers and Trainees. 10 Licensed ATC and six 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.
It carried further investigations 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 (a) and Part (3) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015) NCAA has therefore sanctioned the offending aircrew in accordance with the provisions of Part (i) and Part of Nig.CARs 2015.

“The Medical Certificate and License of the aircrew members has been suspended for 180 days from April 5, 2017. Accordingly, the respondent shall cease to exercise the privileges of the license for the period of his suspension,” the agency directed.

In addition, NCAA said the crew member “shall within seven days of receipt of Letter of Sanction, hand over the license to the authority’s Director of Licensing (DOL).”
It said the aircrew member “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,” NCAA also directed.

 The regulatory authority noted that the random drug and alcohol tests for licensed aviation personnel would 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 jeopardise flight safety.
The exercise was conducted by medical assessors from the Aeromedical Department of the NCAA.