Is It ‘3 Strikes, You’re Out’ For Drunken AI Pilot?

Open Jaw

We don’t like to see anyone lose their job, but in this case perhaps ‘3 strikes you’re out’ is a very good idea.

A senior AI pilot has been suspended after he allegedly showed up “reeking of liquor” before a flight from Sharjah, to Delhi. But get this: the suspension marked the 3rd time that this particular pilot has failed a breath test before one of his scheduled flights.

An Air India spokesperson told the
Hindustan Times: “The captain was not fit to fly. We arranged another pilot to operate the Sharajah-Cochin-Delhi flight. The pilot has been detained for questioning. He was smelling of liquor. An inquiry is on.”

Until last summer, pilots in India would lose their licenses if they came to work drunk (a policy the vast majority of pax could get behind), but in a rather stunning move, the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation changed its regulations; under the new rules, a pilot will not face a 5 yr. suspension until he is caught drinking 3 times.

As the Times of India points out, those regulation changes occurred after the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority had already downgraded India to a Category 2 rating in its International Aviation Safety Assessment due to “flaws in India’s safety oversight.”

A source told the Times of India that this pilot’s habit of pre-flight boozing might have finally cost him his career.

Despite his previous offenses, the unnamed pilot had recently been nominated to become an instructor, Air India’s most senior position for pilots.

The pilot definitely has some drinking buddies at AI: according to a Times Of India investigation, 165 pilots came to work drunk between 2009 and the first part of 2014. The country’s aviation regulations say that pilots or flight crew cannot drink for 12 hr. before a scheduled flight.

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