Air India suspends operations chief for 3 years after he fails breathalyser test for second time; move delays Delhi-London flight by hour

Mumbai: Government-run Air India Sunday grounded its chief of operations Captain AK Kathpalia after he allegedly failed to clear pre-flight alcohol test, a senior airline official said.

Kathpalia was to operate the airline's London-Delhi flight on Sunday afternoon.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters.

"Air India had to call another pilot to replace him and operate the flight (AI-111) which departed after a delay of 55 minutes," causing inconvenience to passengers, an airline source said.

"We have grounded Captain AK Kathpalia as he failed twice in the breath analyser test. He was to operate the London flight from New Delhi, but he failed to clear the pre- flight alcohol test," the official said.

"He was given another chance, but the second test was also found positive following which he was grounded," he said.

Air India spokesperson was not available for comments on the matter.

Rule 24 of the Aircraft Rules prohibits crew members from partaking any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight, and it is mandatory for him/her to undergo an alcohol test both before and after operating a flight.

The prescribed punishment for such offences under the DGCA rules is suspension of flying licence for three months in case of first breach.

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.

Earlier, Kathpalia's flying licence was suspended in 2017 for three months by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for allegedly skipping the breath analyser test before a flight. He was subsequently removed from the post of executive director, operations.

However, he was later appointed to the post of director (operations) in Air India Ltd for a period of five years.

A senior official at the DGCA said that a decision on Kathpalia's flying licence is expected to be taken on Monday.

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Updated Date: Nov 11, 2018 20:24:56 IST

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