Two Air India pilots fail breath analyser test before international flights


  • Air India grounded two pilots on different international flights on the same day for failing alcohol tests before take off.
  • Air India Director (Operations) Captain, AK Kathpalia, who has failed a pre-flight alcohol test previously, was to fly Delhi-London AI-111 flight but failed the mandatory test and was declared ‘unfit to fly.’
  • Air India Delhi-Bangkok AIC332 was forced to return to Delhi 36 mins after departure after its co-pilot was found to have missed a mandatory alcohol test.
Air India grounded two pilots on different international flights on the same day for failing alcohol tests before departure.

An Air India flight from Delhi to Bangkok faced significant delays as its co-pilot missed the mandatory preflight breath analyser test, according to reports. As per aviation rules, a pilot is considered breath analyser-positive even if he forgets to take the test. The Bangkok-bound flight AIC332 was scheduled to depart from Indira Gandhi International Airport at 1:45 PM on Sunday. While the plane took off after adelay of several hours, it was made to return to Delhi 36 mins after its departure, ANI reported.

The passengers on the plane reported that there had been no official announcement regarding the delay in flight take off. One agitated flyer tweeted to complain about the unplanned delay.


The incident was reportedly the second one in the same day of an Air India pilot failing an alcohol test minutes before flight departure. Earlier on Sunday, Air India’s Director (Operations) Captain, AK Kathpalia, was booked by airport authorities for failing the breath analyser test before a Delhi-London flight. He was reportedly given another chance, but the test result came out to be positive and ‘unfit to fly’.

Captain Kathpalia was grounded for the same offense in January last year, while he was scheduled to operate a flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru. He had refused to go through the test before the take off, denying the test after landing on the Bengaluru Airport, Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) reported earlier.

On Monday, Airport authorities reportedly suspended Kathpalia's flying license for three years. Kathpalia said that he would contend the results stating that he had been a victim of internal feuding with the airline, Mint reported.
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