22:00 GMT01 April 2020
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    After facing accusations of drinking on the job in the past, the Indian pilot now faces harsh institutional action in the form of a long-term flight suspension. In comically colourful language, he has, however, dismissed the allegations against him.

    An Air India pilot has been officially prohibited from flying for three years after failing an alcohol breathalyser test before a flight from New Delhi to London, Reuters reported.

    The pilot, Arvind Kathpalia, is also reportedly in charge of safety at the airline as operations director. He disputes the claim that he was boozing on the job, and passionately argued that he would challenge the result of the alcohol test.

    "It was 1:30pm in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1:30pm in the afternoon," he was quoted by Reuters News as saying.

    "I am going to contest this," he added.

    READ MORE: LISTEN: Air India Pilots Try to Land in US as Multiple Systems Fail

    The flight was held up by almost one hour after Kathpalia failed to pass two breathalyser tests and was subsequently designated unfit to fly the plane. 

    As it stands, Kathpalia's flying licence remains suspended.

    "The privileges of his licence have been suspended for a period of three years from 11.11.2018 as per the provisions of applicable regulations," a spokesperson at the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement.

    READ MORE: Indian Airliner Has Passenger Removed for Trying to Charge Phone Inside Cockpit

    Indian aircraft rules prohibit cabin crew, especially pilots and co-pilots, from having an alcoholic drink 12 hours before a flight and it is obligatory for them to take an alcohol test before and after every trip.

    According to India's NDTV, this is in fact the second time that Captain Kathpalia has failed a breathalyser test. In January 2017, he was allegedly grounded for three months for skipping a mandatory test before flying.

    He has, however, reportedly dismissed the 2017 accusation as a "complete set-up."

    Under DGCA rules, the standard punishment for first time violation — which includes either failing a test or skipping one — is three months, for second-time transgression it is three years, and a third time would result in permanent cancelation of a pilot's licence.

    alcohol, plane, Air India, India, London, New Delhi
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