Three crewmembers allegedly test positive for controlled substances

A pilot and two flight attendants of the two airlines, DrukAir and Bhutan Airlines, allegedly tested positive for controlled narcotic substances in the first drug test the Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) conducted last week.

It was learnt that a pilot and a female flight attendant of DrukAir and a male flight attendant for Tashi Airlines tested positive on June 29.

DrukAir’s chief executive officer (CEO), Tandi Wangchuk, confirmed that the two officials tested positive during the test but said that the management had no way to know whether their employees abused drugs. “There is neither a provision for testing nor do we have the means to do it.”

He, however, said that the company service rules prohibit employees from using drugs. “We’re now going to put in measures to prevent such unhealthy incidents.”

Kuensel learnt that about eight employees from both the airlines were tested as part of the three-day training. The test was conducted for pilots, engineers and cabin crew.

It is not yet known what controlled substances the airlines’ officials tested positive for.

Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA) director general, Phuntsho Wangdi, said the civil aviation officials conducted the test although BNCA provided technical support for them to conduct the test.

He said BNCA is yet to receive a report from BCAA. “The documents are under lock and key with them and they haven’t shared the report with us,” he said.

Department of Air Transport’s director general Karma Wangchuk and the Tashi Airline chief executive officer (CEO) Phala Dorji were not available for comments.

Meanwhile, the test was conducted a month after the BNCA officials sensitised airport security personnel on controlled drugs and substances.

It was learnt that BNCA conducted a training and sensitisation program on drug testing and on the provisions of the drugs and tobacco laws for the security officials of Paro Airport on June 2.

Tshering Palden and Tashi Dema

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