Air India operations head taken off flying duty
Mumbai, Feb 9: Acting on aviation regulator DGCA's orders, Air India has taken off flying duties its operations department head for skipping the mandatory pre-flight medical test. 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, they said.
"In compliance with the DGCA orders, Capt Kathpalia will not be assigned any flight to operate any more," airline sources said. The airline had set up a five-member committee to investigate the allegations, besides reporting the matter to the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The probe was necessitated after the airline's pilots union ICPA brought it to the notice of the management. The complaint was received from the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) that a senior executive pilot had evaded pre-flight medical test in the last 25 days at Delhi airport, the sources said. Rule 24 of Aircraft Rules prohibits crew members from taking any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight and it is mandatory for him or her 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.