Four SpiceJet Pilots Fail Breathalyzer Alcohol Test

SpiceJet has grounded four pilots who failed preflight breathalyzer alcohol tests in separate incidents. The four pilots were set to fly various flights over a five day period on Boeing 737 aircraft.

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SpiceJet grounded four pilots after they failed breath alcohol tests. Photo: Boeing

SpiceJet grounds four pilots due to failed breathalyzers

Per a report in the Hindustan Times, four SpiceJet pilots faced grounding as a result of failed preflight breathalyzer tests. These tests indicate the alcohol level of a person. Obviously, due to safety concerns, pilots who are under the influence are legally barred from flying.

SpiceJet 737 MAX
SpiceJet discovered these infractions during preflight breathalyzer screening. Photo: Boeing

All four pilots were scheduled to fly domestic flights on Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Luckily, SpiceJet did not have to cancel any of the flights in question. Rather, it appears that the airline was able to source a replacement pilot.

It appears that SpiceJet was not forced to cancel any flights as a result of these incidents. Photo: Jonathan Payne via Flickr

These incidents occurred between November 29th and December 2nd of 2019. However, all four incidents did not occur simultaneously. Fortunately, none of these pilots were scheduled to fly together when they failed their respective breathalyzer tests.

SpiceJet takes further action

After the incidents, SpiceJet sent out an internal memo to pilots indicating that the airline would take stronger action when it came to pilots who were over the limit for alcohol. However, it is unclear how exactly SpiceJet intends to do this.

SpiceJet sent a memo to its pilots indicating the airline would start taking more severe action when it came to pilots who consumed too much alcohol before a flight. Photo: Boeing

The DGCA, India’s civil aviation bureau, considers alcohol violations to be serious and has strict consequences. Section five, part four, of the DGCA’s Civil Aviation Requirements, outline strict punishments for offenders from a three-month suspension to indefinite license suspension depending on the number of violations a person has accrued. It is unclear what the case is for each of these pilots.

Pilots and alcohol

Worldwide, pilots have strict rules when it comes to alcohol consumption pre-flight. The FAA recommends a minimum of eight hours between drinking and flying. However, some airlines, such as United, now require 12 hours of separation between alcohol consumption and flying. With some aircraft carrying hundreds of people, a drunk pilot could be catastrophic.

Worldwide, pilots have to follow strict rules when it comes to alcohol consumption preflight. Photo: John Christian Fjellestad via Flickr

However, stories do emerge about pilots and alcohol. Each of the big three United States carriers, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines faced an instance of drunk pilots prior to flight this year. And, in Japan, an incident with a drunk Japan Airlines pilot caused a major row for the company and even forced the President of Japan Airlines to take a pay cut! Ultimately, this shows how big of a deal a drunk pilot can be.

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While alcohol can be a real treat for some passengers, pilots have to adhere to strict standards. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

What do you think should happen to these four SpiceJet pilots? Let us know in the comments!