As many as 18 Indian pilots, including a woman, tested positive in pre-flight alcohol tests till November this year. In what could be a matter of concern, almost all of them were in the rank of captain and first officer.
They were denied permission to operate their flights, Indian media reported on Saturday.
The number, however, is below the 2013 score of 31 pilots and the 2012 figure of 41.The number of cases reported in 2009, 2010 and 2011 is 35, 25 and 20, respectively.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in its reply to an RTI query said 170 pilots were pulled up in last five years. However, the services of only eight of them were terminated under section 5 of the Civil Aviation Requirements.
The DGCA said first time offenders were slapped with a three-month suspension with total loss of pay and other allowances. Repeat offenders faced a five year suspension.
Most pilots worked for private airlines. While Air India reported 11 cases, Indian Airlines reported one case in last five years. As per rules, pilots and cabin crew should not consume alcohol 12 hours before take-off.
Maximum number of offenders were caught in Delhi (53) followed by Mumbai (43) and Kolkata (20). Kochi reported four cases and Thiruvananthapuram, two.