Air India pilot who failed alcohol test sacked as Director of Operations

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation suspended for three years the flying licence of Air India operations director Arvind Kathpalia.
Captain Arvind Kathpalia was grounded by the airline on Sunday after he tested alcohol positive twice during as many breath analyser tests performed on him. In August, he had failed a similar alcohol test.(Reuters File Photo)
Captain Arvind Kathpalia was grounded by the airline on Sunday after he tested alcohol positive twice during as many breath analyser tests performed on him. In August, he had failed a similar alcohol test.(Reuters File Photo)
Updated on Nov 13, 2018 05:15 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent

Senior Air India pilot Captain Arvind Kathpalia, who failed the alcohol test just before the flight, has been sacked from the position of Director of Operations, a day after he was barred from flying for at least three years. Captain Amitabh Singh has been given additional charge as Director Operations.

On Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended the flying licence of the 56-year-old Air India pilot for three years, a day after he was found to have an unacceptably high blood alcohol count just before he was scheduled to pilot a flight to London from New Delhi.

The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, earlier today, had demanded Kathpalia’s termination because he was a “repeat offender “.

Kathpalia was grounded by the airline on Sunday after he tested alcohol positive twice during as many breath analyser tests performed on him. In August, he had failed a similar alcohol test.

“In exercise of the power delegated under clause (a) of sub-rule (3) of rule 19 of the Aircraft Rules 1937... the undersigned hereby suspends in public interest the privileges of the pilots licence held by Capt A Kathpalia for a period of three years from Nov 11, 2018,” DGCA joint director general JS Rawat had said in an order.

As per the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the level of blood alcohol compatible (BAC) with safe flying is ‘zero’. Kathpalia had 007% BAC.

As per the DGCA rules, in case of first breach the flying licence is suspended for three months. For violating the norms for a second time, the licence is suspended for three years and for a third time, the licence is permanently cancelled.

The civil aviation ministry, in a tweet said: “HMCA @sureshpprabhu has viewed this incident... and already directed earlier that there will be zero tolerance on safety thus now has asked #DGCA to take action as per rules immediately, they are awaiting report from Air India, action will be taken ASAP.”

On January 19 last year, Kathpalia flew a Delhi-Bengaluru flight AI 174 without going through the mandatory breathalyser test. He did not even take the test after landing in Bengaluru.

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