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Senior Air India pilot, who failed alcohol test, removed from director of ops post

Captain Arvind Kathpalia, who was the Director of Operations at the flag carrier, failed a pre-flight alcohol detection test on Sunday.

SNS | New Delhi |

Senior Air India pilot Captain Arvind Kathpalia was on Tuesday relieved from the charge of Director of Operations with immediate effect, a day after his flying licence was suspended for three years after he failed a pre-flight breath-analyzer test.

Kathpalia, who was the Director of Operations at the flag carrier, failed a pre-flight alcohol detection test on Sunday. He was supposed to have piloted a New Delhi-London flight.

“In case of Captain Kathpalia being detected BA (breath-analyzer) positive on November 11, 2018, the privileges of his licence have been suspended for a period of three years from November 11 as per the provisions of applicable regulations,” a senior DGCA official said.

As per the provision of Rule 24 of the Aircraft Rules, no crew member of a flight, including pilots and engineers, should take or use “any alcoholic drink, sedative, narcotic or stimulant drug or preparation” within twelve hours of the commencement of the flight or in the course of the flight.

The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) had demanded the immediate termination of Kathpalia from the national carrier’s board calling him a “repeat offender” who endangers passengers lives.

In a letter to the Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu, the ICPA said Kathpalia continuing in the top post was “demoralising” for the cadres.

Referring to Kathpalia failing the BA test on November 11, the ICPA said he endangered the lives of innocent passengers.

(With inputs from IANS)