New Delhi: Eighteen pilots, including a female, of various airline services in India were found positive in the pre-flight test conducted in November this year.
As a matter of concern, almost all of them were captains and first officers. Infact, most of them worked for private airlines.
This is a strict violation of DGCA norms as per which the pilots and cabin crew are not allowed to consume alcohol 12 hours before take-off.
Although the number is comparatively lesser than what it was in 2013 and 2012 however, after seeing three major air crashes this year the number still hasn't become zero.
As per sources, 31 pilots were found drunk in 2013 and 41 in 2014. In the earlier years, the number of drunk pilots dwindled in this range only with 35 in 2009, 25 in 2010 and 20 in 2011 respectively.
The incident came into limelight after an RTI was filed demanding the number of such offenders. In its reply, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated that 170 pilots had been pulled-up in last five years. But the services of only eight of them had been terminated under section 5 of the Civil Aviation Requirements.
The DGCA clarified that the first time offenders were slapped with a three-month suspension with total loss of pay and other allowances while the repeat offenders were suspended for five years.
As per the report, Air India reported 11 such cases and Indian Airlines reported only one case in last five years. Maximum number of offenders were caught in Delhi (53) followed by Mumbai (43) and Kolkata (20). Kochi reported four cases and Thiruvananthapuram, two.