India’s civil aviation regulator has suspended the flying licences of two pilots for five years for a mid-air brawl in the cockpit of an international flight of a private carrier on New Year’s Day.
“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has investigated the occurrence. Keeping in view the serious safety lapses endangering the safety of aircraft operations, the regulator on Tuesday suspended the licences of the pilots for five years,” a official said Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the two Indian pilots — a senior male pilot and a female co-pilot — were sacked by private carrier Jet Airways. Prior to that the aviation regulator had put their licences on hold, pending an investigation.
The incident took place on Jan. 1 on board a nine-hour flight from London to Mumbai of Jet Airways in the Iran-Pakistan airspace when the senior male pilot slapped the female co-pilot in the cockpit. Some 322 people were on board that flight.
According to sources, the flight commander had in fact slapped the female co-pilot following a violent argument, after which the victim left the cockpit for some time. She later went back after the intervention of the seniormost cabin crew.
Jet Airways had then termed the fisticuffs in the cockpit as a case of “misunderstanding” between the pilots, which was “resolved amicably.”