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Abu Dhabi: Federal aviation officials have given the green light to a medical firm to conduct drug and alcohol testing for personnel in the UAE aviation sector.

The National Reference Laboratory (NRL) has been approved by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to screen pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, air traffic controllers and others to ensure absolute safety in the airline industry.

Staff are required by law to submit to the Aeromedical Alcohol and Drug Testing Programme.

In a statement on Wednesday, Abdul Hamid Oubeisi, chief executive officer of National Reference Laboratory, said that the firm will enhance “the UAE’s aviation industry and to make available to all operators our lab’s advanced and well-established drug and alcohol testing procedures. We are pleased that our strategic commitment to implementing world-class laboratory testing standards can directly serve this important industry and contribute to the General Civil Aviation Authority’s ongoing efforts to ensure all stakeholders in aviation adhere to international safety standards”.

“Through our comprehensive occupational health testing suite, from rapid on-site testing to the more advanced laboratory-based testing, we are well-equipped to help aviation companies ensure their personnel are fit for duty and capable of carrying out their safety-critical functions,” Oubeisi said.

Aviation is a core sector of the national economy supporting economic diversification and social development.

The industry employs 750,000 people and by 2020 it is expected to contribute Dh200 billion to the UAE economy.