Senior air pilot found drunk prior to flying let off with a warning
A senior member of Air India who was found to be drunk prior to a flight has been let off with a warning by the UAE authorities.
The Air India commander was reportedly arrested in Sharjah for turning up drunk to operate a long-haul flight to Delhi via Kochi on Saturday.
Flight AI 934, carrying approximately 120 passengers, finally took off at 4.35pm, more than three hours past the scheduled time.
The pilot was replaced and taken off duty only after security personnel at the airport suspected the behaviour of the pilot and subsequently questioned him. They discovered he was under the influence of alcohol and reported the incident.
He was forced to take a breathalyser test and was found to be inebriated.
An official at the Sharjah Civil Aviation told Khaleej Times the airline took the preventive measure of not allowing the captain to pilot the flight.
"The security men at the airport suspected the behaviour of the pilot, and questioned him…He was not really drunk... but he was under the influence of alcohol,” the official said.
"His blood sample proved that the percentage of alcohol content was high. So, we instructed the airline to replace the pilot immediately for ensuring the safety of the passengers."
He was tested before the decision was made to replace him due to the level of alcohol in his system.
However, he was reportedly let off with a warning.
"He was detained during the test and after the results came positive, he was told he will not be allowed to fly and they also informed us to provide a substitute. After that he was let off with a warning," the official said.
"It did not become a police case, there was no FIR registered."
He said the UAE authorities did not mention anything about banning the pilot from flying into the country again.
As per the rules by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in India, pilots will be kept off flying duty and would have their licence suspended for three months if caught drunk for the first time at work.