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AI pilot suspended after failing alcohol test

New Delhi: An Air India pilot, who is also a Flight Operations Inspector with civil aviation regulator DGCA, has been suspended from active duty after he tested positive for alcohol.

“Captain Sebastian, who was to fly between Chennai to Madurai, has been grounded for three months after he was tested positive for the alcohol during a pre-flight breathalyser test, a mandatory exercise to ensure flight safety,” a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation official said.

After inspection at various airports, the DGCA has found that results from commonly used breathalyser — Alco-Sensor III — were not satisfactory.

“We have asked the airlines to use advanced breathalyser, Alco-Sensor IV, to conduct pre-flight checks. In last 10 days, four pilots, including a trainee Captain, have been tested positive for alcohol,” the official said.

All these have been suspended from active duty, he added.

The Alco-Sensor IV is a handheld breath alcohol tester which provides a simple, accurate and economical method of determining alcohol concentration in a person’s breath with evidential grade accuracy.

In order to make flights more safer, DGCA chief Bharat Bhushan has ordered for strict action.

“I have ordered for strictest possible action against such persons. We have been conducting regular checks, but we will also be conducting surprise checks, to stop such practices,” Bhushan told PTI.

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