UAE officials find Air India pilot drunk before flight

Pilot reportedly likely to be suspended for three months; flight delayed as airline had to find another pilot.

A pilot who turned up drunk before he was due to fly from Sharjah to Kochi on Saturday escaped with a warning from UAE authorities.

The Air India pilot was stopped by security officials at Sharjah International airport after they detected a strong smell of alcohol from him.

The pilot underwent a breathalyser test and was found under the influence of alcohol. Unable to fly, the flight to Kochi was delayed by three hours as the airline had to find another pilot to complete the journey.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, an unnamed senior official with Sharjah Civil Aviation said while the pilot was not drunk, he was over the limit.

“The security men at the airport suspected the behaviour of the pilot, and questioned him… He was not really drunk... but he was under the influence of alcohol,” the official said.

“His blood sample proved that the percentage of alcohol content was high. So, we instructed the airline to replace the pilot immediately for ensuring the safety of the passengers.”

Passengers remained on the aircraft and were served meals, according to an airline source.

While the pilot escaped action from officials in Sharjah, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in India stipulates in its rules that pilots found drunk will have their licence suspended for three months on the first offence. A second offence will see the licence suspended for three years.

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