Air India senior pilot Arvind Kathpalia was found positive in a pre-flight breath analyser (BA) test on Sunday and declared 'not fit to fly'. He was scheduled to fly AI-111 flight from Delhi to London today.
According to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), Kathpalia skipped the BA test on January 19 last year. He was scheduled to operate a flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru and proceeded to do so without undergoing the mandatory test claiming that the flight would get delayed. Upon landing at Bengaluru, the pilot once again refused to undergo the test.
The ICPA also claimed that the signature pilots are mandated to make in a register upon completion of duty was also allegedly forged by Kathpalia. "It is astounding to note that a person with a dubious track record to being promoted to a reputed high-level post in Air India. It is known that he willfully evaded the breath analyser test pre and post operating the flight. He had fudged the pre-flight register by signing the register after operating the flight without performing the breath analyzer, which amounts to 'fraud and forgery' a criminal act endangering the lives of others," the ICPA had said in a letter.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended Kathpalia last year for three months after he had skipped a compulsory pre-flight medical test on several occasions.
It is mandatory for pilots to undertake the BA test to ensure that they are not in an inebriated state before entering the cockpit. For safety reasons, they are prohibited from consuming alcohol before reporting for duty. o