Drug/Alcohol Testing Compliance Delayed

 - January 8, 2007, 6:04 AM

The FAA is scheduled tomorrow to issue a notice that compliance with revised drug and alcohol testing requirements for air carriers has been delayed to October 10. The final rule, with an original compliance date of April 10, aims to clarify conflicting guidance issued in the 1990s by making it clear that “safety-sensitive functions performed by persons under subcontract at any tier” are subject to testing. However, the FAA now concedes the rule “may be confusing.” Last month, eight aviation trade groups, including the National Air Transportation Association and the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, asked the FAA to extend the April 10 compliance date, claiming the agency has “dramatically” expanded the applicability of drug and alcohol testing rules. According to the associations, the previous regulation mandated testing for contractors but did not specify subcontractors. The extension is not tied to the “issuance of appropriate guidance,” as requested by the associations, but does provide an additional six months for the industry to prepare for implementation.