Written byShalini Ojha
On Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended the flying license of Air India pilot Capt. Arvind Kathpalia, who failed the BA (Breath Analyzer Test) on Sunday, for three years.
Kathpalia was the senior pilot for an Air India flight bound for London from Delhi.
Before flying, he took the test and failed. He was deemed unfit and the flight was delayed.
After he tested positive, another pilot was called to replace him. An airline source said the flight took off after a delay of 55 minutes, and passengers were obviously inconvenienced.
This wasn't the first time Kathpalia has failed the test.
"We have grounded Captain A K Kathpalia as he failed twice in the breath analyzer test," a senior official said.
Notably, Kathpalia has a history of breaking rules. In 2017, he was suspended from flying for three months.
Back then, Kathpalia refused to take the mandatory BA test before flying a plane from Delhi to Bengaluru.
In August 2018, a Delhi court ordered to file an FIR against him for violating Aircraft rules, tampering with evidence and intimidating an airlines officer.
Apparently, he refused to take the test in Bengaluru too. On returning to Delhi, he went to the pre-flight examination room and made a false entry that he had taken the test.
When Dr. Nitin Sethi, in a DGCA inquiry, said Kathpalia fabricated the records, he allegedly threatened him.
Back then, Delhi HC reprimanded Air India for not taking strict actions against him.
"Last week the magistrate court in Andheri, Mumbai had ordered to register an FIR against him for missing breathe analyzer tests and forgery of documents, cheating the company, endangering life and personal safety of passengers," KVJ Rao ex-general secretary of Cabin Crew Association had said back then.
Reportedly, in June 2017, Kathpalia was responsible for flight operations, ground operations, and flight safety and training operations.
He was removed from the job owing to his indiscipline.
According to DGCA rules, crew members can't drink alcohol 12 hours before commencement of flight and have to take the BA test every time.
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