NEW DELHI: A pilot of private carrier Jet Airways and another of state-owned Air India were grounded and their license suspended after being found drunk before operating their overseas flights.
The license of Jet Airways pilot, who was to operate its flight to Paris from Mumbai, has been suspended for three months while that of Air India pilot for three years since he is a second time offender, sources said.
Air India pilot was to operate the airline’s flight to Birmingham from New Delhi.
“Both Jet Airways and Air India pilots have been grounded by the airline and their license suspended by the aviation regulator DGCA for three months and three years respectively,” sources said.
In India, pilots are suspended for three months after the first such violation, three years after the second and their licenses are cancelled if caught for the third time.
Also, unlike other countries that have random alcohol testing policies, DGCA regulations mandate 100% screening for the crew of Indian carriers before every flight departing from an Indian airport and after every flight arriving into the country.
Significantly, Jet Airways has had the maximum number of pilots reporting drunk for duty. As many as 38 of its pilots, including its subsidiary JetLite, were found under the influence of alcohol between 2013 and 2015, according to DGCA data.
Seeking to downplay the issue of its pilot reporting for duty drunk, Jet Airways said it has “undertaken significant” efforts to enhance sensitisation towards the ill effects of alcohol in internal training sessions.
“However, in cases of non-compliance, the airline takes appropriate disciplinary action after requisite investigations as per company policy,” it added.
When contacted, Air India also said that it has grounded the pilot for three years after the incident was brought to its notice.