Air India pilots suspended after 'fight in cockpit'

Air India pilots suspended after 'fight in cockpit'

Two Air India pilots are reported to have been grounded after claims that a fight took place in the cockpit just before take-off.

The co-pilot is accused of losing his temper and assaulting the captain as they prepared the Airbus A319 to fly from Jaipur to Delhi.

The co-pilot became annoyed at the number of jobs he had been asked to do by his superior, including noting down critical information for the flight, such as the number of passengers on board, take-off weight and fuel usage.

The carrier said that both pilots had been taken off flying duty but denied that any violence had taken place, the Times of India reported.

An Air India spokesman insisted that there had been only “an argument between the two and nothing more”.

He said the pair had been suspended pending an inquiry.

Unnamed senior sources within Air India were quoted as saying that the co-pilot’s behaviour had previously been called into question, and an investigation had been started.

“Three years back, he asked the commander of a flight to come out of the cockpit, remove the stars on his shirt collar and then fought with him,” a senior commander was reported as saying.

“A year later, another commander complained about his ‘rude and unbecoming’ behaviour in the cockpit and questioned his state of mind.”

The news comes as pressure is being put on airlines to introduce a rule requiring two crew in the cockpit at all times after the Germanwings Airbus crash in the French Alps last month.

The co-pilot Andreas Lubitz is thought to have “deliberately” crashed the aircraft after locking the captain out of the cockpit, killing all 150 people on board.

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