Jet Airways pilots 'leave cockpit unattended while having a fight' during Mumbai to London flight

The female pilot is believed to have left the cockpit after she was slapped by her male co-pilot

Caroline Mortimer@cjmortimer
Thursday 04 January 2018 12:55
Jet Airways said it has grounded both pilots following the incident
Jet Airways said it has grounded both pilots following the incident

A pair of senior pilots who allegedly got into a fight and stormed out of the cockpit mid-flight, have been ground by an Indian airliner.

Jet Airways is investigating allegations that a male pilot slapped his female colleague during an argument on a New Year’s Day flight from Mumbai to London.

The female pilot is believed to have left the cockpit in tears followed briefly by her co-pilot. As a result the controls were left unattended on the flight which had 323 passengers and 14 crew members aboard.

The male pilot is thought to have come out of the cockpit to persuade her to return – a violation of aviation safety rules which demand at least one pilot remains at the controls at all times during the flight.

The female pilot is believed to have been captaining the flight. The incident is alleged to have happened shortly after the Boeing 777 took off on the nine hour flight at around 10am UK time

The plane later landed safely and no one was injured.

The Indian Directorate of General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the license of the male pilot and ordered a probe into the incident.

“Shortly after the plane took off, the two pilots had a fight," a source told The Times of India. "The co-pilot slapped the lady commander and she left the cockpit in tears. She stood in the galley sobbing.

“The cabin crew tried to comfort her and send her back to the cockpit, but in vain. The co-pilot also kept buzzing [on the intercom to] the crew, asking them to send the second pilot back."

They added: “However, they had a fight for the second time following which she came out again. This time, the cabin crew was quite afraid of the fight happening in the cockpit. They requested her to go to the cockpit and fly the plane safely to its destination.”

A spokesman for the airline told the newspaper: "A misunderstanding occurred between the cockpit crew of Jet Airways flight. However, [it] was quickly resolved amicably and the flight with 324 guests including two infants and 14 crew continued its journey to Mumbai, landing safely.

"The airline has reported the incident to the DGCA and the concerned crew have been derostered pending an internal investigation that has since been initiated.

"At Jet Airways, safety of guests, crew and assets is of paramount importance and the airline has zero tolerance for any action of its employees that compromises safety."'

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