Air India announced it would no longer assign any flying duties to its operations department head for skipping the mandatory pre-flight medical test, reported news agency PTI. The authorities were acting on aviation regulator DGCA’s orders pertaining to safety. The orders to remove Air India Executive Director (Operations) Capt A K Kathpalia from flying duties were issued by the DGCA flight safety department yesterday, Air India said. “In compliance with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) orders, Capt Kathpalia will not be assigned any flight to operate any more,” airline sources told PTI.
Complaints on the said pilot surfaced when the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) complained that a senior executive pilot had evaded pre-flight medical test in the last 25 days at Delhi airport. Acting on the complaints, the airline then set up a five-member committee to investigate the allegations. Apart from this, Air India also reported the matter to the aviation regulator, DGCA.
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According to Rule 24 of Aircraft Rules, crew members must refrain from taking any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight. It is mandatory for the crew to undergo an alcohol test both before and after operating a flight. Any crew member who tests positive in the pre-flight medical check or refuses to take a breath-analyser test is required to be taken off flying duty for at least four weeks and the airline is required to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
“It has been brought to our notice that one of the executive directors, who is a pilot, has been evading pre-flight medical test, endangering the safety of the passengers and crew members. “We hereby request you to kindly investigate into this gross violation of DGCA Civil Aviation Requirement by procuring the pre-flight medical record and all CCTV footage in dispatch and pre-flight medical room at Delhi,” the ICPA had said in its complaint while seeking “strict” action against the erring pilot.