Drunk AI pilot removed from service for 3 yrs
Air India (AI) has taken away all administrative duties for the next three years from a senior pilot caught drunk before flying.
The pilot, captain KS Joseph, has also been stripped of his training captain status which includes status of check pilot, examiner and instructor. He has also been removed from the post of flight operations inspector with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Hindustan Times had reported on February 27 that the national carrier had failed to act against Joseph even after he was found drunk before operating a flight.
Following the story, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh sought an explanation from AI, and the carrier's operations chief of southern region was summoned to Delhi.
Joseph had tested positive in the pre-flight alcohol test on February 3 in Chennai after which he was suspended for three months by the DGCA.
However, Joseph continued to function as deputy general manager looking after the crucial portfolio of pilot scheduling for AI's entire southern region and attended office daily.
"A pilot coming for a flight with 0.91mg of blood alcohol level has committed a criminal offence. A criminal offence is not a mere violation," said aviation safety expert captain Mohan Ranganathan.
"When somebody willfully violates rules in a way that lives are put at risk, it doesn't require a media exposure for action to be taken. The airline and the aviation regulator should have enforced a very strict deterrent," Ranganathan said.
"AI is also initiating disciplinary action against Joseph," a statement issued by the aviation ministry said.