Written byAyushi Chamoli ·
A senior pilot of Air India, Arvind Kathpalia, has recently been promoted as the Regional Director (Northern Region) of the national carrier.
However, it is interesting to note that Arvind is the same pilot who was sacked from the role of Director of Operations after he was tested positive in an alcohol test right before a flight in November 2018.
Here are the details.
In an official statement, Air India notified that Arvind would be taking charge from today.
The notification stated, "Consequent to the retirement of Mr. Pankaj Kumar, Regional Director (Northern Region) after the close of the working hours of April 30, 2019, Capt. Arvind Kathpalia will take over the charge of the post of Regional Director (Northern Region) with effect from May 1."
On November 11, 2018, Arvind was scheduled to command a London bound flight, AI-111 (a Boeing 787 Dreamliner) from New Delhi.
However, in the mandatory breath analyzer test, just before the flight, it was found that his blood alcohol level was beyond acceptable limits.
Following the violation, his license was suspended by the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for 3 years.
Arvind was also removed from the position of Director Operations on November 13, following the orders from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, led by Suresh Prabhu.
However, just one week after his removal as Director Operations, he was appointed as the Executive Director by Air India.
Meanwhile, the union of Air India pilots has criticized the latest promotion that has been given to Arvind.
While condemning the decision, the pilots union in a statement, said, "Top officials are bending backwards to elevate a tainted official. He is been made in-charge of NR, where he will be able to intimidate people who gave statements in the police inquiry."
Moreover, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) has also condemned the move, and said that Arvind's promotion is the proof that it is easy to get away with any crime for the people with powerful political connections.
"A person who has broken the law & has chargesheet pending against him cannot take disciplinary action against other employees. ICPA strongly condemns this," the Association stated.
While justifying the appointment of the previously sacked pilot, Dhananjay Kumar, Air India spokesperson, said, "Arvind Katpalia has been given the Director of Northern Region post in accordance with the law. Earlier, he was Executive director and Regional director is equivalent to his previous post."
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