Monday, November 12, 2018

Air India pilot grounded after being caught drunk before takeoff for the 2nd time

Passengers of the Air India flight AI 111 to London have been left stranded at the Delhi airport.

An Air India flight from Delhi to London was delayed after the pilot of the carrier was grounded after he was found unfit to fly. Passengers of the Air Republic of India flight AI 111 to London were left stranded at the Delhi airport.

The flight was delayed as the senior pilot and Director (Operations) Arvind Kathpalia failed the pre-flight breath analysis test for alcohol. The test deemed him unfit to fly.

Air India had to call another pilot to replace him and operate the flight which departed after a delay of 55 minutes, causing inconvenience to passengers, an airline supply said.

"We have grounded Captain A K Kathpalia as he failed twice in the breath analyser test. He was to operate the London flight from New Delhi, but he failed to clear the pre-flight alcohol test," a senior airline official told news agency PTI.

"He was given another chance, but the second test was also found positive following which he was grounded," the official said.

Rule 24 of the aircraft Rules prohibits crew members from partaking any alcoholic drink 12 hours before the commencement of a flight, and it is mandatory for him or her to undergo an alcohol test each before and after operating a flight.

Sources in Air India have said that Kathpalia is a repeat offender. The flying licence of the senior pilot was suspended for 3 months in 2017 for allegedly skipping a mandatory pre-flight medical test.

The prescribed punishment for such offences under the DGCA rules is suspension of flying licence for 3 months in case of the first breach.

For violating the norms for the second time, the licence is suspended for 3 years and for a 3rd time, the licence is permanently cancelled.

He was appointed as the executive director of operations, a decision which was challenged by a pilot's association in the Delhi high court. He was later far from the post.

However, he was later appointed to the post of director (operations) in Air India Ltd for a period of 5 years.

A senior official at the DGCA said that a decision on Kathpalia's flying licence is expected to be taken on Monday.

"This is the second time Captain Kathpalia has been caught while trying to fly under influence of alcohol. He had earliest to forge entry while arrival at {delhi|Delhi|Old Delhi|city|metropolis|urban center} in city Delhi flight last year," said KVJ Rao ex-general secretary of Cabin Crew Association.

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