CAAS tightens regulations on pilot alcohol consumption


Effective from March 31, 2019, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) will tighten the regulatory regime on alcohol abstention to mitigate the risk of pilots operating under the influence of alcohol.

CAAS has a zero tolerance policy toward alcohol consumption. On 31 March CAAS implemented the Airport Alcohol Testing Programme (AATP) and started random alcohol testing of pilots at Changi and Seletar airports. The alcohol abstinence standard will be 0.02 grams per 210 liters of breath. Pilots found to exceed this will not be permitted to fly.

In addition, pilots found to be operating under the influence of alcohol may be subject to criminal penalties, of up to S$50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years for the first offence, and up to S$100,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years for repeat offenders.

Singapore Air Operator Certificate holders will be required to strengthen their alcohol abstention policies. From May 1, 2019, they will be required to implement an Airline Alcohol Management Programme (AAMP) to proactively identify, manage and rehabilitate pilots with problematic use of alcohol. The AAMP must include components such as a comprehensive peer and self-reporting system, as well as an alcohol rehabilitation program for pilots.

These enhancements to the regulatory regime have been developed following a comprehensive review and consultations with the aviation community, and will be complemented by other actions by airlines, pilot associations and unions.

Kevin Shum, director general of CAAS, said, “The safety of aircraft operations, passengers and crew on board is paramount. CAAS and the aviation community take a serious view of pilots operating aircraft under the influence of alcohol. The new alcohol testing and management programs will help ensure that pilots’ ability to operate aircraft is not impaired by alcohol.”

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Kirstie worked full-time on Business Airport International for over two years and is now a freelance journalist. Away from her writing commitments, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or training for her next charity run.

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