More than 500 pilots and cabin crew from Air India are facing the ultimate hangover.
For every Air India flight, pilots and crew are expected to go through a breathalyzer process both pre- and post-flight. But the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in India just announced that it plans to ground 130 pilots and 430 cabin crew members for skipping the required alcohol testing. A report released by a news agency in the country stated that the crew had been actively evading the tests, flying to locations like Singapore, Goa, Ahmedabad, Bangkok, and Kuwait without the required tests.
According to the report, the DGCA had already issued an ultimatum to the airline management team. Crew members and pilots are not allowed to imbibe in any alcoholic drinks for at least 12 hours prior to a flight.
“The DGCA already brought it to the notice of Air India management that 132 of its pilots and another 434 cabin crew members have evaded the mandatory breath-analyser test,” the report said, covered by APN Live. “It is a safety violation and it (DGCA) is taking a suitable action against these crew members.”
The grounding will take place in phases due to the large number of employees removed from service – it could cripple the airline to do it all at once.
If an employee fails a medical check pre-flight or refuses to do the alcohol test, they are de-fostered for four weeks, DGCA regulations say, and the airline is then supposed to take disciplinary action.