Air India operations head endangered lives of passengers, taken off duty

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New Delhi | Published: February 9, 2017 12:19:06 PM

As a precautionary measure, the pre-flight breath analyser test is mandatory for pilots and cabin crew before a flight takes off.

National carrier Air India. (Reuters)National carrier Air India. (Reuters)

According to Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, an Air India senior pilot has been allegedly violating pre-flight breath analyser (BA) test. A Kathpala, the Director Operation Captain has been reported for violating the mandatory test putting the lives of flying passengers and crew members in danger. The Captain’s misconduct was brought to notice when the pilots’ union body- Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) reported it to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The ICPA comprises of 800 odd members. Hindustan Times says the written note reads, “It has been brought to our notice that one of the executive directors, who is a pilot, has been evading pre-flight medical tests endangering the safety of innocent flying passengers and crew members.”

As a precautionary measure, the pre-flight breath analyser test is mandatory for pilots and cabin crew before a flight takes off. As per DGCA rules, skipping the BA test is equivalent to testing positive for alcohol. The written note from ICPA asked DGCA to go through Air India’s medical records and CCTV camera footage facilitated by the airliner in Delhi.

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An ICPA member said, “Action has been taken against pilots who had genuinely forgotten to do post flight breath analyser tests. Stringent action should be taken against this person for covering up the matter.”

Director Operation Captain A Kathpala will now face a four-member panel set up by Air India’s flight safety department. A DGCA official said, “We have received intimation that a senior executive pilot has evaded the pre-flight medical tests in the past 15 days at the Delhi airport. This information has already been submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and therefore it is required that this is investigated at the earliest.”

According to DGCA’s data safety lapses tripled from 69 to 186 in four years time between 2011 and 2015.

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