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Pilot who failed alcohol test appointed Air India regional director

ANI | Updated: Apr 30, 2019 19:30 IST

New Delhi [India], Apr 30 (ANI): National carrier Air India on Tuesday appointed senior pilot Arvind Kathpalia, who was sacked from the post of Director (Operations) for failing in a mandatory breath analyzer test, as its Regional Director for Northern region.
Captain Kathpalia will step into the shoes of Pankaj Kumar who retires on Tuesday.
"Consequent to the retirement of Mr Pankaj Kumar, Regional Director (Northern Region) after the close of working hours of April 30, 2019, Capt Arvind Kathpalia will take over the charge of the post of Regional Director (Northern Region) with effect from May 1, 2019," a press statement by Air India said.
Captain Kathpalia was suspended for three years by the Ministry of Civil Aviation after he failed the BA test for alcohol consumption before his flight to New Delhi to London in November last year.
He was also suspended for three months in 2017 after he refused to go through pre-flight breath analyzer test for a Bangalore-Delhi flight.
The Air India pilots body Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) "strongly condemned" Kathpalia's appointment.
"The ICPA strongly condemns this move. Top officials are bending backwards to elevate a tainted official. It has yet again proved that people with strong political connections can get away with any crime," the pilots' body said in a statement.
The ICPA in its statement said that Kathpalia may intimidate Air India staffers who have given statements in the police enquiry in connection with the pending cases against him.
"He has been made in-charge of Northern Region where he will be able to intimidate people who have given statements in the police enquiry," it said.
The pilots' body further stated: "Disciplinary action against commanders comes under the jurisdiction of RD-NR. A person who has broken the law and charge sheet pending against him cannot take disciplinary action against other employees."
The ICPA represents pilots who fly the narrow-body aircraft of Air India. (ANI)

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