Two pilots flying on domestic sectors were caught drunk as they were about to board their aircraft on New Year’s Day, civil aviation sources told HT.
Both pilots were scheduled to fly out of metros in South India, though neither the airlines nor the airports have been named.
The pilots have been suspended for three months. But, said the sources, the incident was not an aberration and it is “not uncommon” for pilots to report inebriated for duty.
“It is one of our most serious issues. We do undertake the strictest surveillance to control it,” said Director General of Civil Aviation Kanu Gohain.
In April 2006, a flight commander was caught drunk and offloaded minutes before he was scheduled to fly out of Mumbai.
A plane flying on a domestic sector can have up to 180 passengers. Domestic airlines currently have over 200 aircraft and about 10 times that number of pilots.