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Air India operations director can't fly after failing breath tests

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MUMBAI A senior pilot who is also director of operations for Air India, and has had responsibility for flight safety and training, said he was told by the carrier he failed two breathalyser tests on Sunday before a flight to London from New Delhi.

It is the second time Mr Arvind Kathpalia, who is also on the airline's board, has been in trouble over alcohol tests. He was suspended for three months last year for allegedly refusing to take breathalyser tests.

Mr Kathpalia said he would contest the results and claimed they were related to internal feuding within the state-owned company.

He is responsible for flight operations, ground operations, and flight safety and training operations.

He failed two breathalyser tests on Sunday and was declared unfit to fly, according to a pre-flight medical examination report for alcohol, posted on the website of news portal India Today.

Mr Kathpalia, who denies he had been drinking, corroborated the results of the breathalyser. He said he was tested twice in a span of 20 minutes, adding that the second test's reading was higher than the first.

"It was 1.30 in the afternoon, only a b***** stark raving alcoholic is b***** drunk at 1.30 in the afternoon," Mr Kathpalia said.

"I am going to contest this."

He said that at Air India "everyone is fighting with everyone," and that he has been targeted.

Air India declined comment. - REUTERS

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