Air India pilot grounded for three years after failing booze test

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Air Indias top pilot fails alcohol test

"He was given another chance, but the second test was also found positive following which he was grounded", an airline official told PTI.

He said that at Air India 'everyone is fighting with everyone, ' and that he has been targeted.

Captain Arvind Kathpalia, chief of operations, had an unacceptably high blood alcohol count shortly before he was scheduled to command the AI-11, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, on a flight between New Delhi and London.

Reports add that this is not the first time that Arvind Kathpalia has failed the breath analyzer test.

Air India has not commented on the latest suspension and it is unclear whether the pilot will retain his position as director of operations during the ban.

Speaking before his suspension was confirmed, he said: "It was 1.30 in the afternoon, only a bloody stark-raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1.30 in the afternoon".

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While he acknowledged that he had failed the check-ups, Mr Kathpalia had told Reuters news agency he planned to contest the results.

A legal notice by Indian Commercial Pilots Association to Director General of Civil Aviation then had highlighted how the pilot in question had at least two criminal cases against him.

Aviation authorities say he was suspended for three months for a similar offence previous year too.

On January 19 previous year, Kathpalia commandeered the Delhi-Bengaluru flight AI 174 without going through the mandatory breathalyser test.

New Delhi police officials could not immediately confirm the status of the case. It must be noted that it is mandatory for pilots to undertake the BA test to ensure that they are not in an inebriated state before entering the cockpit.

He claims that he is under attack partly because he is an employee of the original Air India, which wasIndia's global carrier, while the union is from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, which was a domestic carrier. The animosity exists till today.

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