130 Air India pilots to be grounded for skipping alcohol-test
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is planning to ground over 130 pilots and 430 cabin crew members of Air India. Allegedly they have been skipping the mandatory pre and post-flight alcohol test. The crew members of the national carrier have systematically evaded their breath analyzer tests on and from destinations, such as Singapore, Kuwait, Bangkok, Ahmedabad, and Goa. Here's more about it.
As per the aviation regulator DGCA's safety regulations, all pilots and cabin crew must undergo breath analyzer tests before and after flights. It makes sense because you can't have them flying drunk and the theory of pulling over and making them walk on a straight line doesn't work in the sky. DGCA has already given an ultimatum to Air India management for this violation.
Neither Maharaja nor his cronies answered to any of the queries regarding this particular matter. It's to be noted that aircraft rules forbid any alcoholic consumption by crew members 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight. However, since Air India crew didn't take their tests, your guess is as good as mine regarding their compliance.
Even if the entire group is guilty, DGCA will not suspend them all at once. It's because suspending such a large number of crew will cripple the airlines. DGCA is likely to do it in a phased manner. In February, DGCA had suspended Air India's then executive director of operations, Arvind Kathpalia, for three months for the same reason. Guess where he's now?
Kathpalia is currently the head of operations and a board member of Air India. It speaks volumes about the airlines and the tendency of the past government to let rampant corruption go unchecked. Every single day, it's one chaos after another, concerning the Maharaja. Maybe, in future, the government will treat it as a cautionary tale before indulging PSUs incessantly.