The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) on Friday threatened to launch a full-fledged protest against a Directorate General of Civil Aviation official. The move comes in the wake of aviation regulator’s decision to ground 132 pilots and 430 cabin crew of Air India for skipping the Alcohol test. Considering the impact of the move, DGCA decided to implement the action in a phased manner.
General Secretary of ICPA Captain T Praveen Keerthi in a letter said the suspension of services of the staff was a clear case of vindication by a DGCA official. Keerthi wrote, “We have come to know DGCA is on the verge of suspending licences of 132 pilots and 400 cabin crew for no fault of theirs. This is a clear case of vindication by (DGCA official).
He added, “In spite of our CMD writing to DGCA, taking the onus for not providing medical facility at transit stations and the airline management’s interpretation to carry out post flight medical after completion flight, DGCA is trying to suspend the licences of the pilots in a phased manner.”
Keerthi said DGCA official’s action is based on selective data of previous months. The letter read,” (DGCA official) hand picked only two flights on narrow body and left out wide body flights. He has taken data from only past few months and not from the time of implementation of DGCA civil aviation requirement (CAR).
It added,”There is no provision in CAR to suspend license in a phased manner. The above actions by (the DGCA official) are a clear indication of victimisation towards a section of pilots of specific fleet. if any one of our innocent member pilot becomes a victim of DGCA for no fault of the pilot, we will resort to a full fledged protest.”
However, a few pilots differed from the position of the pilots’ body. An Air India Pilot requesting anonymity told India.Com, “DGCA has its own norms for pilots and pilots should have followed the rules. Drinking Alcohol during the flight puts passengers’ life into danger.” He added,” DGCA should have warned the pilots before taking such action.”
Aircraft rules prohibit crew members from taking any alcoholic drink 12 hours prior to the commencement of a flight. Any crew member who tests positive in the pre-flight medical check or refuses to take a breath-analyser test is required to be taken off flying duty for at least four weeks and the airline is required to initiate disciplinary proceedings.