New Delhi: Air India senior pilot Arvind Kathpalia on Sunday was grounded after he tested positive in the Breath Analyser (BA) and was hence declared ‘not fit to fly’. The Air India Chief, Flight Safety said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been informed to take necessary action against the Director (Operations).

Prior to this, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association wrote to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take action against Kathpalia. In another incident, an Air India 332 Delhi -Bangkok flight also returned as the co-pilot missed his pre-flight Breath Analyser (BA) Test.

According to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, Kathpalia had failed the BA on January 19, 2017, also. An Air India official said, “We have grounded Captain A K Kathpalia as he failed twice in the breath analyser test. He was to operate the London flight from New Delhi, but he failed to clear the pre-flight alcohol test.” The official added that he was given another chance, but the second test was also found positive following which he was grounded.

The Director (Operations) whose flying license had been suspended by the DGCA in 2017 for a period of three months after he was found skipping the BA test had earlier contended that not take the test to avoid delaying the flight. Thereafter, he had proceeded to forge the pre-flight medical register in Delhi after arriving back. After this incident, he was appointed to the post of director (operations) in Air India Ltd for a period of five years.

For the unversed, under Rule 24 of the Aircraft Rules, crew members are prohibited from consuming any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight, and it is further mandatory for them to undergo a pre-alcohol test both before and after operating a flight. If tested positive, the crew member is required to be taken off flying duty for at least four weeks and the airline is required to initiate disciplinary proceedings.