Two pilots - one from state-owned Air India and another from private carrier Jet Airways - were grounded and their licences suspended after they tested positive for alcohol in their blood.
The licence of Jet Airways pilot, who was about to fly to Paris from Mumbai, has been suspended for three months while that of Air India pilot for three years since he was a repeat offender, sources said.
The Air India pilot was operating in the airline’s Birmingham - New Delhi route.
“Both Jet Airways and Air India pilots have been grounded by the airline and their licence suspended by the aviation regulator DGCA for three months and three years respectively,” sources said.
In India, pilots are suspended for three months after the first violation, three years after the second and their licences stand cancelled if caught for a third time.
Also, unlike other countries that have random alcohol testing policies, DGCA regulations mandate 100% screening for crew of Indian carriers before every flight departing from an Indian airport and after every flight arriving into the country.
Significantly, Jet Airways has had the maximum number of pilots reporting drunk for duty. As many as 38 of its pilots, including its subsidiary JetLite, were found under the influence of alcohol between 2013 and 2015, according to DGCA data.
Jet Air ways said it has “undertaken significant” efforts to enhance sensitisation towards the ill effects of alcohol in internal training sessions.
“However, in cases of non-compliance, the airline takes appropriate disciplinary action after requisite investigations as per company policy,” it added.
When contacted, Air India also said that it has grounded the pilot for three years after the incident was brought to its notice.
Air India announced on Wednesday that it has decided to take blood samples of pilots with prevalent breath analyser tests to assess the accurate intake of alcohol.