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No take-off or landing of flights at 27 airports; 181 pilots tested positive for alcohol: Ministry

No take-off or landing of flights at 27 airports; 181 pilots tested positive for alcohol: Ministry
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New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has spent more than Rs 2.5 crore in the last fiscal on the maintenance of its 27 airports where no takeoff or landing of flights take place, the Lok Sabha was told Thursday.

Minister of state for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply that the revival of airstrips/airports is ''demand driven'', depending upon a firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the state governments for providing various concessions.

"There are 27 airports of Airports Authority of India (AAI) where no takeoff or landing of flights take place. AAI has spent Rs 2.61 crores on maintenance of these airports during the financial year 2017-18," he said.

Sinha said the ministry had launched Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) in October 2016 with the objective to facilitate/stimulate regional air connectivity to currently underserved and unserved airports by making it affordable.

He said 73 RCS (17 underserved and 56 unserved) airports had been identified in the first and second round of bidding under RCS-UDAN for their revival.

However, the minister also shared a disturbing statistic that may give fliers sleepless nights.

A total of 181 pilots of scheduled and non-scheduled operators tested positive for alcohol during 2015-2018, the Civil Aviation Minister told Parliament.

Sinha said that in 2015, as many as 43 pilots tested positive for alcohol, followed by 44 in 2016.

In 2017, the number stood at 45 and 49 such cases have come to the fore till November 2018, he said.

In November this year, Air India Captain Arvind Kathpalia, in charge of Director Operations, was sacked a day after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation suspended his license for three years for failing the breath analyser test.

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