Flight Grounded After Pilot Fails Two Breathalyzer Tests

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An Air India pilot was grounded after failing two breathalyzer tests. He claims that he was not under the influence, but that the results are due to internal fighting at the airline company.

Arvind Kathpalia was grounded before a flight from New Delhi to London on Sunday after failing two breathalyzer tests. Flight AI 111 was delayed by almost an hour.

“It was 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon,” Kathpalia told Reuters. “I am going to contest this.”

Kathpalia told Reuters in an online phone interview that he took two tests in the span of 20 minutes and that the second test’s reading was higher than the first.

This isn’t the first time Kathpalia has been involved in a controversy surrounding a breathalyzer test. He was suspended in 2017 for three months after refusing to take a breathalyzer, though Kathpalia claims it was a scheduling issue and not him refusing to take the test.

He told Reuters that internal politics is to blame for the results of his tests. Kathpalia says he’s under attack because he was an employee of the original Air India before Air India and Indian Airlines merged in 2007.

Breath analyzer for measuring blood alcohol content. ( Photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / sylv1rob1)

“There is a lot of animosity after the merger. The animosity exists till today. They refuse to acknowledge each other,” said Kathpalia

Air India has declined to comment.

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