Air India holds back posting of pilot who failed alcohol test

Last Updated: Wed, May 01, 2019 14:18 hrs
Air India (PTI image)

New Delhi: Facing embarrassment over appointment of controversial pilot Arvind Kathpalia as its Regional Director, Air India put the order in abeyance within hours of naming him for the key post.

"The Notification ...assigning charge of the post of Regional Director (Northern Region) to Captain Arvind Kathpalia is kept in abeyance till further order," the airline order said.

Earlier in the day, the airline had named Kathpalia as the Regional Director (Northern Region) with effect from May 1, 2019.

"Consequent to the retirement of Mr. Pankaj Kumar, Regional Director (Northern Region) after the close of the working hours of 30th April, 2019, Capt. Arvind Kathpalia will take over the charge of the post of Regional Director (Northern Region) with effect from May 1, 2019," the official order had said.

Aviation regulator DGCA had last year suspended Kathpalia's flying license after he failed pre-flight alcohol tests.

Kathpalia had tested positive for alcohol in two breath analyser (BA) tests before he was to fly Air India's New Delhi-London flight on November 11 last year.

Following the DGCA's suspension of the pilot for three years, the Civil Aviation Ministry issued an order to remove Kathpalia from the position of Director (Operations).

However, a week later, Air India posted Captain Kathpalia as Executive Director.

As per the provision of Rule 24 of the Aircraft Rules, no crew member of a flight, including pilots and engineers, should take or use "any alcoholic drink, sedative, narcotic or stimulant drug or preparation" within twelve hours of the commencement of the flight or in the course of the flight.