Airline Grounds Four Pilots in Five Days After Failing Alcohol Tests

Four SpiceJet pilots were ground in five days after they were found to be under the influence of alcohol as they arrived to the flights they were scheduled to work.

According to The Hindustan Times, the four pilots were subjected to a “compulsory breath analyzer test” before their flights between November 29 and December 2, but were found to have alcohol in their systems.

SpiceJet has a zero-tolerance policy for pilots when it comes to alcohol, which means the carrier permits zero alcohol in a pilot’s blood right before a flight. The employees who tested positive are Joel Hangshing, captain Nikhil Suri, captain Richa Chauhan and first officer Chander Pratap.

The offending pilots were grounded per Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rules and SpiceJet officials said the airline “takes the strictest possible action against anyone found violating the rules.”

Each of the pilots was scheduled to Boeing 737 aircraft, which carry between 85 and 215 passengers each. DGCA officials said first-time offenders are grounded for three months, second-time offenders for three years and third-time offenders lose their flying license.

SpiceJet did not confirm if any of its pilots had failed previous alcohol tests.

The Hindustan Times received an internal email sent by SpiceJet management to its pilots and other employees, saying, “the fact that there are four events in a span of one week is clearly indicative that some pilots do not understand the gravity or the implication of being tested positive for alcohol.”

“Effective immediately, the company will take punitive action that is much more severe than that called for by the regulations for all cases of BA positive,” the statement continued.

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