A senior Air India pilot, who came to work drunk, has been banned from flying for three months by the country’s aviation safety regulator.
The commander-rank pilot was scheduled to operate a Boeing 777 aircraft from Delhi to Hyderabad, said sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), when he failed the preflight alcohol test.
According to the DGCA’s rule book on flight crew caught drunk on duty the pilot would not be allowed to operate flights for at least three months. The regulator is also in the process of scanning his records to check any similar offences earlier.
“If the pilot is a repeat offender the licence would be cancelled for three years,” said a senior DGCA official, requesting anonymity.
The official added that the pilot might also lose his “check pilot” status.
Check pilots are among the senior-most in an airline who are authorised by the DGCA to double up as in-house watchdogs and conduct routine safety checks for other pilots.
The Air India spokesperson did not respond to the HT’s call and a query sent over email on the matter.
Sources in the regulator’s office added that the amount of alcohol found in the pilot’s blood in this case was by far the highest they had recorded in the recent past. The breathalyzer readings showed 0.16, said officials.
“The readings indicate that the pilot could have had four to five drinks within 12 hours ahead of the flight,” the DGCA official added.
This was not a stray case. On January 1, this year a Boeing commander and a first officer with a private airline were grounded for three months for the same offence, officials added.