Senior Air India pilot flew sans breath test: ICPA

Delhi has around seven doctors while Mumbai has around twelve of them working for the airline.

Mumbai: It has come to light that an executive director of Air India, who is also a pilot, had piloted around 10 international flights in a month without undergoing breath analyser tests. Furthermore, according to sources, doctors with the airline are on contract and are being dominated by seniors. The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) on Monday wrote to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to check all the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage to establish evidence against the AI employee concerned.

The letter written by the ICPA states that one of the executive directors has been evading pre-flight medical tests, endangering the safety of passengers and crewmembers. The letter has requested an investigation into the violation of the DGCA’s Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) by procuring the “pre-flight medical records and all the CCTV footage in the despatch and PFM room at Delhi for a fortnight”.

According to sources, more than half of Air India’s 30 doctors are on contract. Delhi has around seven doctors while Mumbai has around twelve of them working for the airline. “The ED in question has flouted the mandatory CAR for almost ten flights in one month. The doctors who are on contract stand nowhere in front of such senior officials and, hence, obey what they are told,” an airline official said.

A top airline official alleged, “Why would one not get the breath analyser test done if one hasn’t consumed alcohol? According to the rules, skipping these mandatory checks amount to the same as testing positive for alcohol.”

The letter does not state the name of the executive director in question. Commenting on this, an airline official said, “The name of the ED has been not included in the letter as the DGCA has been asked to review the CCTV footage and get to know the person themselves.” Another airline official said, “There are two EDs’ names that have been doing rounds. However, it will only be after the DGCA’s investigation that the person at fault will be declared.”

Confirming the complaint received by the airline, Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said, “We have begun an investigation into this matter and will take the necessary action against the person once we come to know the details. Air India is committed to its passengers and does not compromise on safety at any cost.”

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