Drunk AI pilot-director suspended 

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Aviation regulator DGCA has suspended the flying licence of Air India Director of Operations Arvind Kathpalia who failed alcohol test on Sunday.

An Air India flight from Delhi to London was delayed after the pilot of the carrier was found unfit to fly. Passengers of the Air 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.

Capt Kathpalia, who had also faced an FIR by the Delhi police in August this year after he allegedly skipped the mandatory pre-flight breath analyser test before a Delhi-Bengaluru flight, underwent the test at Terminal 3 of Delhi airport at 1.29 pm which showed a 0.07 per cent blood alcohol content. The second test, conducted at 1.50 pm, showed a higher 0.08 per cent blood alcohol content. 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”.

Rule 24 of Aircraft Rules prohibits crew members from consuming any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to a flight and makes it mandatory for the crew to undergo an alcohol test before and after operating a flight. In fact, under the Aircraft Rules, a second offence warrants a punishment of three-year suspension.

The national carrier has been drawing a lot of flak due to delayed flights and dwindling losses. These cases add to the woes of its already tarnished image.

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