Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Air India operations director stopped from piloting flight after failing breath tests

Air India pilot fails Breath Analyser test for second time in a year Representational image
Patty Aguilar | 12 November, 2018, 19:02

National carrier Air India Sunday grounded its chief of operations Captain A.K. Kathpalia for allegedly failing to clear the pre-flight alcohol test for the second time in a year. He will now face a probe by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). "A few minutes after the tests were completed and I was sitting for the pre-flight briefing in the next room, the doctor came and informed me that the test conducted in her presence was found positive".

This is not the first time when the pilot has failed the test.

The pilots were then fired by the private Jet Airways after the incident on a London-Mumbai flight.

The breathalyzer test showed that Captain Kathpalia's blood alcohol level was above permissible levels.

According to reports, the airline got the test results at around 1:30 pm, a little over an hour before departure, and had to scramble to get another pilot to fly the Boeing 787 that goes non-stop to London's Heathrow International airport.

Exactly a year ago, Kathpalia's licence was suspended for three months for a similar offence. Aircraft rules prohibit crew members from having any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight, and mandate them to undergo alcohol tests before and after each trip.

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"He failed the breath analyser and as per rules we have made a decision to cancel his licence for three years with immediate effect", an official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation told AFP.

Air India spokesperson was not available for comments on the matter.

Kathpalia failed two breathalyzer tests on Sunday and was declared unfit to fly, according to a pre-flight medical examination report for alcohol, posted on the website of news portal India Today.

The airline said he had been grounded.

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.

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