Controversial senior pilot Arvind Kathpalia, who has been grounded till May for violating flying norms, was promoted and appointed at a Director-level post in the government-controlled Air India today. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the appointment of Kathpalia to the post of Director (Operations) in Air India Ltd (AIL) for a period of five years, an official order said.
Kathpalia, who is at present Executive Director in AIL, was in news after his flying licence was suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The DGCA last month suspended his flying licence for three months after he had skipped compulsory pre-flight medical test on several occasions. According to an inquiry report, Kathpalia had said that he had driven straight to the aircraft after attending a meeting with officials of the civil aviation regulator as the flight was getting late.
However, it is mandatory for the pilots to undertake the breath analyser test to ensure that they are not drunk before entering the cockpits. The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) had demanded that Kathpalia should not continue as Executive Director (operations) at Air India.
According to DGCA rules no official can take alcoholic drink 12 hours before the flight and it is mandatory for them to go take the breath analyser test. The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) had complained that a senior executive pilot had been evading the pre-flight test for 25 days at a stretch. An investigation was launched into the matter. After which Air India had set up a 5-member committee to investigate the matter. There were orders to remove Kathpalia from flying duties as statement issued by DGCA flight safety department.