At a time when people all over the world remain concerned about air travel and the safety aspects of it, here’s yet another incident that would do nothing to inspire confidence. According to the Times Of India, two pilots working for India’s flag carrier Air India have been reprimanded after it was reported that the two had an argument onboard an aircraft. In fact, according to the report, the co-pilot allegedly assaulted the captain and beat him up in the midst of the argument. And all this happened in full view of the passengers.
The incident reportedly happened on Sunday evening in the northern Indian city of Jaipur, a tourist hub, a Firstpost report added. The aircraft that the two pilots were scheduled to fly was an Airbus A320 – the same aircraft model that was recently involved in the Germanwings crash that killed all 150 people on-board. The flight was numbered Air India Flight AI 611 and it was scheduled to fly to the national capital, New Delhi.
According to witnesses who saw the incident unfold, the co-pilot abused the captain and beat him up after he was told to take down some critical flight parameters before the plane took off. A source who saw it all happened says;
“The commander told his co-pilot to take down critical take off figures for the flight. This involves writing critical facts like number of passengers on board, take off weight and fuel uptake on a small paper card (trim sheet) that is displayed in front of the pilots for the entire duration of the flight. The co-pilot took offense at this and reportedly beat up the captain.”
When Air India officials were asked about the incident, a spokesperson said that there was no manhandling involved and that it was just an argument between the two pilots..
“There was an argument between the two and nothing more.” the spokesperson claimed.
After the incident happened, the captain “in the larger interest” of the airline and the passengers decided to complete the flight anyway. As per norms, the incident had to be reported at Jaipur itself. However, this would have meant long delays for Air India, and more importantly for the passengers.
A formal complaint was lodged after the plane landed in Delhi, after which the captain flew back to his home base in Mumbai. An Air India official later confirmed that the two pilots later settled the issue.
According to reports, the co-pilot involved in the argument has had a history of getting into altercations with his co-pilots. Another senior Air India pilot confirmed this.
“Three years back, he asked the commander of a flight to come out of the cockpit, remove the stars on his shirt collar (appulates) and then fought with him. A year later, another commander complained about his ‘rude and unbecoming’ behavior in the cockpit and questioned his state of mind,” the unnamed senior commander told reporters.
At a time when the mental health of pilots are under scrutiny following the Germanwings crash, incidents like these will only make passengers wary about flying, don’t you think?
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons ]