An Air India pilot's bid to prevent hair fall has, according to him, resulted in the suspension of his flying licence for three years as the alcohol in the treatment serum showed up in a breath analyser test conducted prior to operating a flight. The incident occurred last year and the pilot has now challenged in the Delhi High Court the DGCA and Civil Aviation Ministry's decisions to suspend him. In his plea, he has said that the alcohol levels that showed up in the breath analyser (BA) test was 0.16 and 0.20 which was below the international permissible standards of 0.40.
He has contended that the blood and urine tests, immediately conducted by him from a private lab on the same day as the breath analyser (BA) test, did not show any alcohol in his system. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which had in May 2018 suspended him for three years, told the court that its standards for permissible alcohol levels was 0.0.
It also said that the pilot had once in the past also tested positive for alcohol before a pre-flight BA test and he had back then claimed that it was due to consumption of cough syrup. The pilot had initially appealed against his three-year suspension before the ministry which, in April this year, upheld the DGCA decision.
Subsequently, he moved the high court against his suspension. The high court has issued notice to the ministry and DGCA seeking their stand on the pilot's plea. Taking note of the low level of alcohol which showed up in the test, the court observed that the pilot may not have necessarily been drunk.