The surge in incidences of gross indiscipline and behavior unbecoming to professionals, involving PIA crew members and other staff members reflects dismal state of affairs plaguing the national airline, while also reflecting poorly on CAA, the regulatory body. It is an established fact that airline crew the world over has been inclined to consumption of alcoholic drinks, though to a far lesser degree than their counterparts in merchant navy. Perhaps it is nature of their job, odd duty hours, disturbed sleep patterns and staying away from home, which is a cause for resorting to drinking and use of drugs etc. This is precisely the reason why all over the world, random checks are carried out, and strict punishments given to airline pilots, to serve as deterrence for others.

In most developed countries, pilots involved in commercial airline flying are subjected to random drug tests to keep them on their toes. If anyone in found under the influence of drugs; they are charged with involuntary manslaughter and the FAA, once having established that level of alcohol was above the allowed limit, cancels their flying license for life immediately, without waiting for any court judgment.

License cancellation by the regulatory body is punishment for violating the conditions of use, which requires that holder of the said license, should not be flying while under any kind of drug inducement. Had the CAA performed its regulatory functions professionally by carrying out random checks for drug or alcohol abuse by airline crew at airports in Pakistan, or ensured that its ‘Air Worthiness Unit’ employed independent inspectors, who had no conflict of interest with airlines under their control, this country would have been spared the embarrassment of having their airline operations suspended by European Union or their pilots being caught at international airports like the recent incident involving Capt Imran Faiz being who was caught at Bradford Airport, minutes before he was to fly the aircraft on a direct flight to Islamabad, carrying over 180 passengers.

SHAHZAD KHALIL,

Sialkot, September 21.