Drunk AI pilot grounded,airlines steps up breath tests

AI has begun to conduct surprise tests,bought sophisticated machines.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published:February 3, 2012 6:16 pm

An Air India pilot,who is also a Flight Operations Inspector with civil aviation regulator DGCA,has been suspended from active duty after he tested positive for alcohol.

“Captain Sebastian,who was to fly between Chennai to Madurai,has been grounded for three months after he was tested positive for alcohol during a pre-flight breathalyser test,a mandatory exercise to ensure flight safety,” a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation official said.

After inspection at various airports, the DGCA has found that results from commonly used breathalyser – Alco-Sensor III — were not satisfactory.

“We have asked the airlines to use advanced breathalyser,Alco-Sensor IV,to conduct pre-flight checks. In the last 10 days,four pilots,including a trainee captain,have been tested positive for alcohol,” the official said.

They have all been suspended from active duty,he added. The Alco-Sensor IV is a handheld breath-alcohol tester which provides a simple,accurate and economical method of determining alcohol concentration in a person’s breath with evidential grade accuracy.

In order to make flights more safe,DGCA chief Bharat Bhushan has ordered strict action against these pilots.

“I have ordered the strictest possible action against such people. We have been conducting regular checks,but we will also be conducting surprise checks to stop such practices,” Bhushan told PTI.

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