An Air India (AI) pilot who was tested positive for alcohol before operating a flight would not be allowed to fly a plane for at least three years. The pilot assigned to operate a Birmingham-bound flight from Delhi faced the stern action because this was the second time he tested positive during a mandatory pre-flight breathe check.
An AI spokesperson confirmed that the pilot’s license was suspended for three years.
“This is as good as being grounded for good,” said a retired Boeing captain pointing at the cumbersome process of keeping oneself flying-fit for such a long period.
On Tuesday, Jet Airways also benched a pilot for three months failing a similar breath check. The punishment wasn’t as grave because he was a first-time offender.
A Jet Airways spokesperson confirmed this.
“The airline will take suitable action as per the prescribed guidelines for such situations and company policy. At Jet Airways, the safety and security of our guests and staff is of paramount importance.”
Steady rise in such cases has become a burning safety concern for the aviation regulator.
On October 20, HT had reported that 89 pilots had tested positive for liquor during such checks between January to June. This meant at least one pilot was caught reeking of alcohol every second day during that period. The data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in response to a query sent under the Right to Information Act also showed that the menace more than doubled from 69 in 2011 to 186 in 2015.