Drunk Pilots Escape Discipline

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An Indian newspaper, the Mail Today, is quoting an unnamed retired airline pilot as saying that senior airline pilots commonly turn up for work drunk and almost never get disciplined because they are too "precious." The newspaper points out that there is no law against flying drunk in India, although pilots suspected of drinking are prevented from getting into the cockpit. An Air India flight from Mumbai to New York was delayed Monday when one of the four pilots checked in tipsy. A replacement was found, and the flight took off 45 minutes late. The unnamed source told the newspaper the pilot will will probably be back in the left seat as soon as he sobers up.

He said there is such an acute shortage of senior pilots that airlines look the other way when they get into trouble. "If you are a junior pilot with not much experience, you may be in slight trouble. However, if you are a commander, then the airline concerned mostly ignores it," the retired pilot told Mail Today. He said that if the airline did fire the pilot, he'd be immediately hired by another carrier.