In 2017, when he held the post of executive director of operations of Air India, he was de-rostered for missing his mandatory breathalyzer before flying. He was earlier also grounded for a similar offence.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association writes to Ministry of Civil Aviation to take action against Air India pilot Arvind Kathpalia, who was found positive in Breath Analyser (BA) Test and declared "not fit to fly" on Sunday. Meanwhile, another incident of an Air India co-pilot skipping the breath analyser test was also reported at Delhi airport on Air India flight AI332 Delhi-Bangkok around the same time. "I am going to contest this". Last year, the DGCA had suspended Kathpalia for three months after he had skipped a compulsory pre-flight medical test several times. It is mandatory for all pilots to undergo an alcohol test before their flights.
Air India had to call another pilot to replace him and operate the flight (AI-111) which departed after a delay of 55 minutes, causing inconvenience to passengers, an airline source said. "Director, Operations of Air India was drunk before flight?"
He was suspended for three months past year for allegedly refusing to take breathalysers, which led to a court case being filed against him by trade union the Indian Commercial Pilots Association.
After his licence was suspended in 2017, Kathpalia was removed from the post of executive director, operations.
The court ordered the New Delhi police to file a first information report (FIR), the first step in India's legal system that can lead to an investigation, against Kathpalia in August this year, according to reports in major Indian newspapers.
He claims that he is under attack partly because he is an employee of the original Air India, which wasIndia's worldwide carrier, while the union is from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, which was a domestic carrier. The animosity exists till today.