UK pilots oppose random drink and drug testing

The union representing the UK’s pilots has opposed plans by
BA to introduce drink and drug testing for flight crews.

The British Air Line Pilots’Association, which represents
nearly 8,000 flight crew, believes a peer pressure policy where pilots and
flight crew confront colleagues who have a drink or drug problem is a better
way of dealing with the issue than random testing.

Captain Rick Brennan, chairman of Balpa, commented, “Making
the decision to confront a colleague is tough but if you are a real friend you
will do it. If airlines co-operate we can deal with what are still rare cases
of pilots who misuse drink or drugs.”

Balpa highlights the success of a peer intervention
programme in the USA which has named, helped and returned to work 550 pilots
who had a drink or drug problem over the last 10 years.

The union contrasts this with random testing in the US that
has revealed only 80 pilots over drink limits during the same period.

By Ben Willmott.
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