57 Pilots Over Alcohol Limit During Preflight Tests

India’s airline authorities caught 57 pilots over the alcohol limit with a cabin full of passengers. Authorities said it happened furing the past two years and most were cleared to fly again.

Only 11 of the pilots found to be under the influence of alcohol in random preflight medical tests between January 2009 and November 2010 lost their job, the Times of India newspaper said, citing a statement by Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi to lawmakers.

The rest were hit with varying punishments determined by their airline, such as warning letters or a fine. To combat the rising number of inebriated pilots in India’s skies, authorities brought in a rule last year grounding first-time offenders for three months and stripping the flying license for repeat offenders.

Since the rule came into effect in December, a month when cases have traditionally peaked, no cases have yet been reported. Reports of Indian passengers complaining of poorly behaved pilots are not uncommon. Two years ago, national carrier Air India grounded two pilots and two cabin crew after a four-way fracas in the passenger cabin left the cockpit unmanned mid-flight.