New Delhi, Nov 13 : Air India pilot Captain Arvind Kathpalia was sacked from the position of Director of Operations on Tuesday, a day after he was barred from flying for at least three years on charges of failing an alcohol test before a scheduled international flight.
The chief vigilance officer of the airline will carry out a detailed inquiry into the incident, besides the administrative and disciplinary aspects of Captain Kathpalia’s conduct and how it would have impacted passenger safety.
The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), earlier today, had demanded the senior pilot’s immediate termination because he was a “repeat offender who endangers the lives of passengers”
In a letter to the Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu, the ICPA said Kathpalia continuing in the top post was “demoralising” for the cadres.
Referring to Kathpalia failing the BA test on November 11, the ICPA said he endangered the lives of innocent passengers.
“The flight was delayed and the passengers were left stranded. Kindly note this is a repeat offence. The said incident resulted in extremely bad publicity to the national carrier,” the ICPA said.
“He has repeatedly tarnished the image of Air India and we request his immediate termination from the board,” the ICPA said in the letter sent on Monday signed by T Praveen Keerthi, general secretary.
The ICPA said it does not want officials with dubious track records heading operations.
The letter was sent when the Indian aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended Kathpalia’s license for three years after he failed a pre-flight breath-analyser (BA) test on November 11 before captaining a New Delhi-London flight.
The ICPA in its letter also said an enquiry against Kathpalia is still pending as on January 19, 2017 in Delhi where he operated flight AI-174 and AI-173 without undergoing BA tests.
“The Delhi High Court has ordered a disciplinary enquiry in the conduct of Captain A. Kathpalia with regard to making an entry in the pre-flight medical examination register and ante-dating the same and to take appropriate action in accordance with law.
“To our knowledge, till date the enquiry is still pending,” the ICPA letter said.
“While pilots in Air India are charge-sheeted for skipping the BA test, the company refused to charge-sheet Kathpalia so as to facilitate his promotion as a board member,” the letter added.