Air India’s Director of Flight Safety Just Failed Two Breathalyzers Before Trying to Fly London-Delhi

Government-owned Air India is a basket case. Air India crew often do as they wish whether it’s evading alcohol checks and refusing to fly unless they’re paired with their preferred co-workers.

There’s certainly fertile ground for improvement as the airline wishes to regain control of its operation. One place they may want to start is with whom they put in charge of training pilots for safety.

The Air India pilot who is responsible for safety and training at the airline was stopped from flying London – Delhi today after failing not one but two breathalyzer tests.

A senior pilot who is also director of operations for Air India, and has had responsibility for flight safety and training, said he was told by the carrier he failed two breathalyzer tests on Sunday before a flight to London from New Delhi.

Last year he was suspended for 3 months after refusing to take a breathalyzer before and after flying Bengaluru – New Delhi. Despite the refusal he flew the plane. After that he was promoted to his current role.

In last year’s incident he claimed he was “set up” although it’s not clear how that would even be possible.

This time he says he wasn’t even drinking, and suggests the tests make no sense since the second one was even more over the limit than the first (of course alcohol takes time to register in the blood, so it’s perfectly consistent with someone who drank recently). His defense is, essentially, that he was so far over the limit that he couldn’t have been drunk.

It’s happened at Alaska Airlines and at United. And at Air India. And at British Airways. We’ve even seen a pilot blow a .24 in the cockpit.

Sure, when an American pilot was arrested a reader asked whether that meant the airline was back to serving pre-departure beverages and I laughed. But it’s serious. Even seeing alcohol in the cockpit is serious.

George Burns once said, “Actually, it only takes one drink to get me loaded. Trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or fourteenth.” He could have been a pilot for Air India.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Shithole country, shithole airline. Just take a look at our own @747always if you need even the slightest reminder.

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