Air India sacks Captain Arvind Kathpalia after he fails alcohol test before flying London-bound plane


India’s national carrier Air India has sacked Captain Arvind Kathpalia a day after he was banned from flying for three as he failed the mandatory alcohol test just before taking control of a scheduled Delhi-London flight AI-111.

Air India
Photo: Captain Arvind Kathpalia’s Facebook page

His sacking came after the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association demanded his immediate sacking for being a repeat offender.

Earlier this week, Captain Kathpalia was made to take the breathalyzer test twice and he failed the test on both the occasions. The London-bound flight was delayed as the airline looked to make alternative arrangements. He was later banned from flying for three years. A statement by Director General of Civil Aviation had read, “The privileges of his licence have been suspended for a period of three years from 11.11.2018 as per the provisions of applicable regulations.”

This is not the first time Capt Kathpalia has been in news for wrong reasons. In 2017, when he held the post of executive director of operations of Air India, he was de-rostered for missing his mandatory breathalyzer before flying. On that occasion, he was banned from flying for three months.

A legal notice by Indian Commercial Pilots Association to Director General of Civil Aviation then had highlighted how the pilot in question had at least two criminal cases against him.

The notice had read, “The ED (Executive Director) in question has criminal cases against him under two sections of IPC, which he has suppressed from the company and obtained the Airport Entry Pass (AEP) for these years. His offence of skipping the mandatory breathes analyser test for around ten times calls for registering an FIR under section 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others), which needs to be lodged not only against the pilot but also against the doctor who allowed him to skip the tests. When someone continues skipping the tests it is a clear indication that he is has consumed alcohol.”





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