It would be difficult to find an airline that didn’t consider a pilot flying while drunk a fireable offense. But a newly proposed regulation in India could also take action against pilots who use perfume.
India’s Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which oversees the country’s aviation industry, recently proposed an update to its bylaws regarding alcohol consumption.
There is already reference to things other than alcoholic drinks that could cause a positive breath test, namely mouthwash, in the guidelines. However, a new section – bolded here – specifically mentions perfume.
It reads: “No crew member shall consume any drug/formulation or use any substance such as mouthwash/tooth gel/perfume or any such product which has alcoholic content. This may result into positive breath analyzer test.”
The text continues: “Any crew member who is undergoing such medication shall consult the company doctor before undertaking flying assignment.”
While perfumes can contain trace amounts of alcohol, it’s unclear if wearing perfume on one’s body can trigger a false positive breath test.
The official air safety requirements for the DGCA were ratified in August 2015. The proposed addition is up for public comment through October 5.
Pilot drunkenness has occasionally been an issue in the aviation industry.
In 2018, Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, a pilot for Japan Airlines, was sentenced to 10 months in prison after a breath test taken shortly after takeoff showed that his blood alcohol level was nine times the legal limit.
And in the US, a Delta pilot named Gabriel Lyle Schroeder was escorted off a fully boarded plane pre-takeoff when he was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.
“Delta’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation,” an airline representative told CNN at the time.