You are here
Air India ops director stopped from piloting flight after failing breath tests
A SENIOR pilot who is also director of operations for Air India, and has had responsibility for flight safety and training, said he was told by the carrier he failed two breathalyzer tests on Sunday before a flight to London from New Delhi.
It is the second time Arvind Kathpalia, who is also on the loss-making airline's board, has been in trouble over alcohol tests. He was suspended for three months in 2017 for allegedly refusing to take breathalyzer tests.
Mr Kathpalia said he would contest the results and claimed they were related to internal feuding within the state-owned company.
According to a description for the operation director's job when Mr Kathpalia was appointed in June 2017, he is responsible for flight operations, ground operations, and flight safety and training operations.
It is unclear if those remain the job specifications.
Air India declined to comment.
Mr 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 news portal India Today.
Mr Kathpalia, who denies he had been drinking, corroborated the results of the breathalyzer and said he was tested twice in a span of 20 minutes, adding that the second test's reading was higher than the first.
"It was 1:30 in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1:30 in the afternoon," Mr Kathpalia said. "I am going to contest this." He said that at Air India "everyone is fighting with everyone", and that he has been targeted.
In 2017, he was suspended for three months when he had allegedly refused to take breathalyzer tests before and after his flight between Bengaluru and New Delhi, according to a court document available on law portal Indiakanoon.
In August last year, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, a trade union representing pilots of the state-owned carrier, filed a court case against Mr Kathpalia, requesting stern action against him over the missed breathalyzer tests and some other behaviour. REUTERS