Air India pilot who failed alcohol test won’t be a board director
Kathpalia was found positive for alcohol consumption in his breathalyser test on November 11 when he was to operate Air India AI 11, Delhi-London flight.Updated: Dec 18, 2018 09:27 IST
A senior Air India pilot, who reported drunk for duty, will not be included in the airline’s board of directors. The appointments committee of the Union cabinet had recently approved the letter by the civil aviation minister to remove captain Arvind Kathpalia from the post of director (operations) of Air India.
Kathpalia was found positive for alcohol consumption in his breathalyser test on November 11 when he was to operate Air India AI 11, Delhi-London flight. His alcohol levels remained high during both the times of performing the pre-flight mandatory breathalyser test and the doctor declared him to be under the influence of alcohol.
The order stated, “The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved the proposal for removal of captain Arvind Kathpalia from the post of director (operations).”
The directorate general of civil aviation has suspended Kathpali’s licence for three years. The airline also took him off his duties as director (operations).
Kathpalia, however, has refuted the charges against him.
“I have refuted the charges against me as they are ill – informed, malicious, mischievous and a pre-planned propaganda by vested interests to dent my image. I have had an unblemished flying career and flying record and “never ever” reported for duty in a drunken/inebriated state,” he said.
“Only part, false & limited information of the BA test has been spread to the media. I have appealed as per the laid down processes against the improprieties of the conduct & procedure that was followed for my BA test,” he added.
Commenting on his exclusion from Air India’s board of directors, Kathpalia said, “ Regarding my appointment, it is strange that no laid down processes like showcase or enquiry were even followed. However since the matter is subjudice I cannot comment any further. Time will bring out the truth.”
On January 19 last year, Kathpalia commandeered a flight without going through the mandatory breathalyser test. An FIR was lodged against Kathpalia on August 24 after the pilots’ union alleged that the episode of Kathpalia missing his test involved forgery, intimidation of a doctor, and violations of rules
Kathpalia had joined Air India in 1987 as a trainee pilot. Besides working as the airline’s executive director and director of operations, he has handled the lucrative post of flight operations inspector for the DGCA and has also acted as the chief of flight safety for Air India.