FAQ on Alcohol Testing during Ramp Inspections

How will crews be notified that they have been chosen for an alcohol test?

Alcohol tests are performed as part of ramp inspections (see ARO.RAMP) only. The crews will be verbally briefed about the procedures during the ramp inspection.

By which method will the LBA determine that crews are chosen for alcohol testing?

Crews will be chosen by a non-discriminatory and risk-based procedure. Only a small part of the yearly LBA ramp inspections (about 1,500) will include an alcohol test.

Will all pilots in a crew be tested or just one pilot?

All active flight crew members will be tested.

Will the LBA require a second confirming alcohol test during ramp inspections?

If the first test is positive, a second test after at least 15 minutes will always be performed during the ramp inspection by the ramp inspector.

To which persons will the pilots’ names – in case of a positive result - be published?

The names will be noted on the proof of inspection that is given to the Captain at the end of each ramp inspection. The names will also be given to the police and, on request, to a duly authorized representative of the operator. The names will not be published in the SAFA database.

Where will alcohol testing take place?

The testing location will be selected depending on the kind of aircraft / location and time available (please remember that a ramp inspection is usually performed during a short turnaround). Our inspectors are instructed to do the testing, as far as possible, in a private location, e.g. in the cockpit when the door is closed and when no passengers are standing outside the aircraft and can look into the cockpit. On demand of the tested crew member, other crew members have to respect privacy and e.g. leave the cockpit or the tested crew member can agree to move to another more private place with the inspector.

Is there any consequence for a breath tested alcohol content equivalent to a blood alcohol content of exactly 0.2 ‰ or any lower result?

No, there is not.

What happens to the pilot who tests positive?

After two positive tests on the ramp, the police will be called to arrange a third and confirming (blood-) test. The file will then be handed over to the judicial authorities. The pilot, of course, won’t be allowed to perform the upcoming flight. The aircraft itself will not be grounded and can depart in time as long as a spare pilot is available.

What would occur in the event that a foreign flight crew member refused to take the test or was not able to complete the test?

A refusal of the test will be managed in the same way as a refusal to permit the performance of the ramp inspection itself. A grounding of the aircraft will be considered as provided for in the legal basis of the SAFA inspections in Art. 29 para 3 of the German Aviation Act.

Who will be performing the alcohol tests, LBA employees, the police or third parties?

The first two tests will be performed by LBA employees. In case both tests are positive (breath tested alcohol content equivalent to a blood alcohol content higher than 0.2 ‰), the police will be called for further measures.

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