Air India Grounds Pilots For Cockpit Fight
As attention is focused on cockpit security in the wake of the Germanwings crash two weeks ago, new concerns have developed after two pilots for Air India got into an altercation on Sunday night.
Air India announced that both pilots were grounded after the co-pilot allegedly assaulted the captain prior to takeoff on a flight from the Indian resort town of Jaipur to New Delhi, according to the "Hindustan Times" and "Times of India" newspapers.
The Times quoted an un-named source as saying the argument escalated after the captain asked the junior officer for routine paperwork.
"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, takeoff 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 offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain," the paper quoted the source as saying. "In the larger interest of the airline", the commander decided to go ahead with the flight and flew to Delhi.
An Air India spokesman would not confirm if the pilots came to blows, telling the Press Trust of India: "There were only heated exchanges between the commander and co-pilot over some issue. We have already de-rostered the two pilots pending an enquiry.”
Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed on March 24 when, prosecutors allege, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the flight deck and deliberately steered the plane into the side of the French Alps, killing all 150 on board.
More by Rich Thomaselli
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