Saturday, June 28, 2008

Indian pilots requently fail pre-flight alcohol tests

Goodness! Another reason for me to quake in my shoes when taking those internal flights! Flying on an airplane that had no life jackets was scary enough (reason: we do not fly over water so of what use is a life jacket) but the possibility of having an inebriated pilot at the helm is altogether a bit much.

Around 50 pilots each year in India are being grounded because they had consumed alcohol before taking a flight, the country's civil aviation authorities said Tuesday. The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a body controlling airline operations in India, said dozens of pilots are found to have consumed alcohol during routine pre-medical tests every year. Civil aviation rules specify that pilots and cabin crew cannot consume alcohol 12 hours before taking a flight.

"We do catch pilots who had taken alcohol routinely and so does the airlines," Kanu Gohain, a top DGCA official told Reuters Tuesday. "We have strict guidelines for alcohol intake and any operating crew is pulled up immediately, and the airlines too can punish crew members," he said by telephone from Mumbai.

A pilot can be grounded for three months and he can lose his license if he repeats the mistake again, Gohain added. A flight from India's capital to the eastern city of Patna was cancelled Saturday after a routine medical test on crew members revealed the pilot had consumed alcohol. (Link)

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