A senior pilot and director of operations at Air India was suspended for three years, after failing two breathalyzer alcohol tests.
On Sunday, before Kathpalia boarded his flight from New Delhi to London, he underwent the mandatory breathalyzer tests required from every pilot ahead of a flight. After having failed the first test, he was administered a new one after twenty minutes, which he also failed.
A spokesperson at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation confirmed in a statement that “the privileges of his license have been suspended for three years from 11.11.2018.”
According to the job description of Air India’s director of operations when Kathpalia was appointed in June 2017, his responsibilities included flight and ground operations, flight safety and training.
Kathpalia told Reuters he would contest the results and attributes his failure in the tests to internal feuds at Air India. Though he confirmed the tests showed his blood alcohol levels were higher than the legal limit, he denied he had been drinking,
“It was 1:30 in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1:30 in the afternoon,” he told Reuters.