A top Air India pilot was grounded minutes before flying an international flight after he failed the alcohol test. Capt Arvind Kathpalia, who is the national carrier’s Director-Operations was about to operate Delhi-London flight AI-111 scheduled to depart from Delhi at 2.45 pm on Sunday afternoon.
Capt 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.
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.”
Last month, a woman cabin crew member had fallen off an Air India flight while closing the door before the take off.