• France's news in English

Air traffic controllers asked not to smoke up during shifts

Kyle James · 15 Jul 2011, 13:32

Published: 15 Jul 2011 16:20 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jul 2011 13:32 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Directors at French Guiana’s main international airport have sent out a letter to air-traffic controllers there asking them to lay off the pot and other hallucinogenic substances during their shifts.

The letter, which was obtained by the newspaper Le Figaro, informed air traffic controllers at Cayenne Rochambeau airport that certain behaviours were “incompatible with safety.”

Those include drinking alcohol in the control tower, smoking marijuana or taking hallucinogenic drugs.

“Psychoactive substances affect the brain in that they diminish certain judgment and reasoning abilities and prolong reaction times,” the letter dated June 28th read.

“These effects are not compatible with air traffic control duties. That is why consuming alcohol or other psychoactive substances, under any form, is prohibited during the entire length of a work shift.”

In order to avoid any misunderstanding the letter laid out in detail what the management had in mind.

"The aforementioned psychoactive substances include the following: alcohol, opiates, cannabinoids, sedatives, soporifics, cocaine, psychostimulants, hallucinogens and volatile solvents.“

Cayenne Rochambeau ranked last year as the 27th busiest French airport, processing some 420,000 passengers, and is serviced by Air France and Air Caraïbes. French Guiana is a French overseas territory in South America sandwiched between Brazil and Suriname.

In addition to directing flights in and out of the airport, controllers also supervise air traffic throughout French Guiana as well as over an area of the Atlantic Ocean approximately twice the size of France. In 2010, controllers there filed a complaint about having too much work.

"Consuming cannabis and alcohol has unfortunately spread in those professions that demand a high level of concentration,“ an aviation expert told Le Figaro. "In the case of air traffic control, where decisions have to be made quickly, such consumption can have dramatic consequences.“


Kyle James (news@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available