57 pilots fail breathalyser tests in India

Ruth Doherty
57 pilots fail breathalyser test in India
57 pilots fail breathalyser test in India


More than 50 Indian airline pilots were found to be over the legal alcohol limit prior to flying during random breathalyser tests over the last two years.

The 57 pilots were caught out in random tests carried out from January 2009 and November 2010. In total, only 11 pilots were fired, while some were given fines, and others suspended for three months.

According to the Times of India, the country's Directorate General of Civil Aviation ruled in 2010 that pilots would have to be grounded for three months the first time they reported drunk and, if it happened a second time, their commercial flying licence would be cancelled.

Jet Airways, India's largest domestic airline, was found to be the biggest offender, with 23 pilots reporting drunk. None of them were dismissed, according to a statement presented in Parliament by Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi.

Other airlines include IndiGo Airlines and SpiceJet, which had 11 and seven offenders respectively. Of these, four pilots were sacked from each, while Kingfisher Airlines sacked three of its eight pilots who reported drunk for duty.

The Daily Telegraph revealed the shocking statistic, and consequently raised questions over safety procedures in India, pointing out that the revelation follows a recent scandal of unqualified pilots working with fake licences.

The issue was revisited this week when a man was arrested for obtaining commercial flying licences with forged mark sheets.

To date, police have arrested 13 pilots, three civil aviation officials and two forgers in connection with an Indian fake licence racket.

For more information visit telegraph.co.uk.

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