Air Indias top pilot fails alcohol test

Two too high to fly? Air India takes action against pilots over alcohol tests

Kathpalia had contended that he did not take the test to avoid delaying the flight.

For violating the norms for a second time, the licence is suspended for three years.

The flight took off again at 8:40 pm, after a delay of seven hours.

"However, due to the sensitivity of the matter in the context of the Kathpalia incident, Air India grounded the co-pilot and reported the matter to DGCA", an official said. For safety reasons, they are prohibited from consuming alcohol before reporting for duty.

On Sunday, Air India grounded Kathpalia after he failed to clear pre-flight alcohol test. Kathpalia failed two breathalyzer tests on Sunday and was declared unfit to fly, according to a pre-flight medical examination report for alcohol, posted on the website of a news portal. In 2017, when he held the post of executive director of operations of Air India, he was de-rostered for missing his mandatory breathalyzer before flying. He was scheduled to fly AI's Delhi to London flight.

An Air India Flight from Delhi to Bangkok was forced to return minutes after takeoff and was then delayed by several hours on Sunday after the co-pilot skipped the breath analyser test.

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Mr Kathpalia is not alone among Indian pilots for alcohol-related misconduct. According to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), Arvind Kathpalia had failed the BA on 19th January, 2017.

A substitute pilot was brought in after he failed the test. Capt Kathpalia has denied the charges against him.

On Sunday, Capt Kathpalia said he was a victim of internal fighting within Air Indian and that he would challenge the results of the tests.

Upon landing at Bengaluru, the pilot once again refused to undergo the test.

Passengers on two global flights of Air India were left strannded on Sunday as one pilot tested positive in the breath-analyser test while another skipped the test, forcing the aircraft to return soon after taking off.

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