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Pilot caught trying to fly plane while drunk

An Indian low-cost airline suspended a pilot after he was found drunk shortly before he was due to fly an aircraft with about 100 passengers on board, officials said on Wednesday.
/ Source: Reuters

An Indian low-cost airline suspended a pilot after he was found drunk shortly before he was due to fly an aircraft with about 100 passengers on board, officials said on Wednesday.

The surprise Tuesday check at Bombay airport — India’s busiest — threw up several minor violations of safety norms by airlines, including an instance of a pilot in another low-cost carrier trying to fly in a T-shirt because his only uniform had gone to the laundry.

While aviation officials let most offenders off with a warning, Captain N. Ronaldo, a South American pilot flying an Air Deccan aircraft from Mumbai to the eastern city of Kolkata, was referred for “action” after being found drunk on duty.

“We have suspended the pilot after a breath-analyzer showed he had alcohol beyond the permissible levels,” Air Deccan spokesperson Vijaya Menon told Reuters.

Indian aviation rules do not allow pilots to drink 12 hours before a flight. It was not immediately known how much liquor the pilot had consumed.

India’s civil aviation sector has expanded rapidly in the past three years with several new private airlines looking at home and abroad for new pilots.