Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Air India pilot fails alcohol test, grounded

The loopy flight path of AI332 The loopy flight path of AI332
Ellis Copeland | 12 November, 2018, 23:20

In another similar incident, an Air India 332 Delhi -Bangkok flight returned to Delhi Airport as the flight's co-pilot missed his pre-flight Breath Analyser (BA) Test.

Captain A.K. Kathpalia, who was to operate AI-111 flight to London from New Delhi Sunday, was replaced after his alcohol test came positive. He was declared "unfit to fly" by Air India's medical service department and grounded with the remarks: "He is under the influence of alcohol at present".

Air India Chief, Flight Safety informed that its pilot Capt. Arvind Kathpalia has been grounded and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been informed to take necessary action.

In 2017, Kathpalia was suspended for three months when he had allegedly refused to take breathalyzer tests before and after his flight between Bengaluru and New Delhi and back in January 2017, according to a court document available on law portal Indiakanoon.

The punishment for such offences under the DGCA rules is suspension of flying licence for three months in case of first breach. He was subsequently removed from the post of executive director, operations.

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"He was given another chance, but the second test was also found positive following which he was grounded", the official said. However, in March 2017, prior to his licence suspension being ended, the Centre appointed him as Director of Operations for the flag-carrier. Can passengers be safe on Air India flights?

While he acknowledged that he had failed the check-ups, Mr Kathpalia had told Reuters news agency he planned to contest the results.

The licence of Air India pilot, who was found to have an unacceptably high blood alcohol count shortly before he was scheduled to fly, has been suspended for three years on Monday.

Upon landing at Bengaluru, the pilot once again refused to undergo the test.

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