Pilots get into fight mid-air, leave cockpit unattended

By Ray Downs

Jan. 10 (UPI) — Two Indian pilots have been fired after they reportedly got into a physical altercation and left the plane’s cockpit unattended during a flight from London to Mumbai.

The Jet Airways pilots — a man and a woman — got into an altercation on Jan. 1 with 324 passengers on board. According to the Times of India, the male co-pilot slapped the female commander while they were in the cockpit.

When she left the cockpit in tears, the male co-pilot left the cockpit unattended on two occasions to persuade her to come back.

“The cockpit fight was a shocking and a very serious incident,” said an official from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation. “Both the pilots were out of the cockpit a couple of times and there was no one there. What if they had been locked out of the cockpit? This is unheard of and calls for extreme action.”

While both pilots were fired by the private airline, the DCGA revoked the male co-pilot’s pilot license immediately. The female commander’s license status is still under review but preliminary investigations indicate no further action will be taken.

“It is alleged the lady commander was hit by the co-pilot and she left the cockpit,” the official said. “As per rules, one pilot can leave the cockpit as long as another is there. So she left when one pilot was still on the controls.”

Jet Airways told the BBC it had “zero tolerance for any action of its employees that compromises safety”.

“At Jet Airways, safety of guests, crew and assets is of paramount importance,” a spokesperson said.