Senior Air India Pilot Who Failed Alcohol Test Grounded For 3 Years

Air India pilot fails Breath Analyser test for second time in a year

The airline got the test results at 1:30 pm, a little over an hour before departure, and had to scramble to get another pilot to fly the Boeing 787 that goes non-stop to London's Heathrow International airport.

Captain Arvind Kathpalia, Air India's Director, Operations, was found unfit to fly after he flunked two pre-flight alcohol tests shortly before he was to pilot a Delhi-London flight on Sunday afternoon.

"However, due to the sensitivity of the matter in the context of the Kathpalia incident, Air India grounded the co-pilot and reported the matter to DGCA", an official said. He was suspended for three months in 2017 for allegedly refusing to take breathalyzer tests.

Capt Kathpalia was made to take the breathalyzer test twice and he failed the test on both the occasions. Air India spokesperson remained unavailable for comment.

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

He said that at Air India "everyone is fighting with everyone", and that he has been targeted.

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In August past year, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, a trade union representing pilots of the state-owned carrier, filed a court case against Kathpalia requesting stern action against him over the missed breathalyzer tests and some other behaviour.

According to reports, Kathpalia had been suspended once before, for three months in 2017, after skipping his breathalyser test.

New Delhi police officers could not immediately confirm the status of the case. A few minutes later, the doctor who had conducted the test approached Arvind and said that his test was positive.

He claims that he is under attack partly because he is an employee of the original Air India, which wasIndia's worldwide carrier, while the union is from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, which was a domestic carrier.

Kathpalia has denied the allegations, describing them as a smear campaign levelled by rivals, local media reported.

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