The Directorate General of Civil aviation (DGCA) may issue orders to State owned Air India to ground over 130 pilots along with 430 cabin crew members for allegedly skipping the mandatory pre and post-flight alcohol test. This was noticed during the routes of Singapore, Bangkok, Kuwait for International routes and Ahmedabad and Goa in domestic routes for sometime.
Aviation regulator DGCA has already served an ultimatum to the Air India management over the alleged safety violations by the airline’s crew members ahead of its enforcement action, they said.
Air India spokesperson did not comment on this issue. As per the rules, no crew is allowed to consume alcohol 12 hours prior to the commencement of flight.
“The DGCA already brought it to the notice of Air India management that its 132 pilots and 434 cabin crew have evaded the mandatory breath analyser test, which is to be taken both before and after operating a flight. It is a safety violation and it (DGCA) is taking a suitable action against these crew members,” a source said.
It is to be noted here that Arvind Kathpalia, Executive Director-Operations, Air India was suspended for three months in February for the same breach and he is now Head of Operations and also a Board Member of Air India.
DGCA may go light in enforcing this since grounding a the staffs at the same time would affect the operations of the aircraft big time which is already reeling in debts.
As per DGCA, 224 pilots and crew members of various airlines failed the test in 2016 which is some 22 more in number since in 2015, it was 202 pilots and crew members who failed the test.