Millennium Post

DGCA temporarily suspends AI operations head's flying licence

Acting tough, aviation regulator DGCA on Wednesday suspended the flying licence of Air India operations head Capt A K Kathpalia for skipping mandatory pre-flight medical test repeatedly.

The action comes within a week of the national carrier taking Kathpalia, a senior executive pilot, off flying duties.

Interestingly, Kathpalia -- who is the Executive Director (Operations) -- has been selected for a board level position at Air India pending final approval. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has now suspended the licence for failing to undertake breath analyser test, either before or after operating a domestic flight on January 19.

In an order, the regulator said that in public interest, "the privileges of the pilot licence held by Captain A K Kathpalia ATPL No.1330" is being suspended for three months.

The suspension "shall be endorsed on his licence", the order issued by DGCAJoint Director Lalit Gupta said. In this context, endorse refers to mentioning about the particular action in the personal records of the violator. The suspension would be effective from February 7 –the day when he was taken off from flying duties by the airline after directions from the DGCA. There was no response from Air India to queries in this regard.

Sources at the airline said the five-member committee, set up to probe allegations of violations against Kathpalia, has submitted its report to the DGCA. DGCA officials were not available for comments.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) had complained that Kathpalia had evaded pre-flight medical test on several occasions.
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.
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