A day after Air India’s director of operations and senior pilot Arvind Kathpalia failed a pre-flight alcohol test, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended his licence for three years, a senior official said. “In the case of Kathpalia being detected ‘BA (breath alcohol) positive’ on November 11, the privileges of his licence have been suspended for a period of three years as per the provisions of applicable regulations,” the official said. This was second violation of alcohol test rules by Kathpalia.
Rule 24 of the Aircraft Rules prohibits crew members from consuming 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.
In February 2017, Kathpalia’s flying licence was suspended for three months by DGCA for allegedly skipping the breath analyser test before a flight. However, in March 2017, prior to his licence suspension being ended, the Centre appointed him as Director of Operations for the flag-carrier.
On Sunday, Kathpalia was scheduled to fly to London from Delhi, where he failed the alcohol test. He was subsequently grounded by Air India.