Air India has suspended the license of Arvind Kathpalia after he failed two breathalyzers just prior to departing New Delhi for London on Sunday. Kathpalia, who’s also Air India’s director of operations, will see his flight privileges revoked for three years. He has denied the charges against him.
An Air India pilot has been suspended after failing two pre-flight breathalyzer tests. Reuters reports that the senior pilot in question, named as Arvind Kathpalia, failed the tests just prior to departing New Delhi for London on Sunday.
Kathpalia, who serves as Air India’s director of operations, will see his license suspended for three years. In addition to this most recent violation, the news agency has also revealed that Kathpalia was suspended for three months back in 2017 after he apparently refused to be breathalyzed. This refusal, reports Sky, saw India’s Commercial Pilots Association take legal actions against Kathpalia.
While he has admitted to failing these pre-flight checks, Kathpalia has stated that he will challenge the results of the breathalyzers. Sky reports that, in his capacity as director of operations, he is responsible for safety and training at India’s flag carrier.
“It was 1.30 in the afternoon, only a bloody stark-raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1.30 in the afternoon. I am going to contest this,” he was quoted by Sky as saying.
Kathpalia has also said that he has been victimized by what he described as “internal feuding” at Air India.
In a statement, as quoted by Reuters, a spokesperson for India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said, “The privileges of his license have been suspended for a period of three years from 11.11.2018 as per the provisions of applicable regulations.”
Neither Kathpalia or Air India have offered any additional comment on the situation. It is also unclear if Kathpalia will continue to hold his directorship during the course of three-year ban.