Arvind Kathpalia, a senior Air India pilot, has been suspended by the Indian air safety watchdog for a period of three years after he failed alcohol tests.
The suspension came a day after Arvind Kathpalia failed two breathalyzer tests before a flight to London from New Delhi.
Reuters reports that it was the second time Kathpalia has been in trouble over alcohol tests. He was said to have been suspended for three months in 2017 for allegedly refusing to take breathalyzer tests.
Kathpalia denied taking alcohol and vowed to challenge the suspension in court.
“It was 1:30 in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1:30 in the afternoon,” Reuters quoted Kathpalia to have said. He added that, “I am going to contest this.”
The 2017 allegation “was a complete set-up,” said Kathpalia, who said it was the result of a scheduling issue rather than his refusal to take tests.
According to Reuters, Kathapalia claimed that he was under attack partly because he is an employee of the original Air India, which was India’s international carrier, while the union is from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, which was a domestic carrier. The two airlines were merged into one in 2007.
“There is a lot of animosity after the merger. The animosity exists till today. They refuse to acknowledge each other,” said Kathpalia.
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