India suspends pilot licence over cockpit fight in int’l flight

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Indian civil aviation authorities have suspended the licence of a senior pilot over a fight with a female co-pilot in the cockpit of an international flight of a private carrier.

The incident took place on board a nine-hour flight from London to Mumbai of India’s private carrier Jet Airways in the Iran-Pakistan airspace on the New Year, but came to light only a couple of days later.

“India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has now suspended the licence of the senior Jet Airways pilot. This is because the fight had put the lives of 322 people on board the flight at stake,” sources said Thursday.

“Besides physically assaulting the woman commander, the senior pilot also left the cockpit unattended twice, which is in violation of the safety norms leading to the suspension of his licence. His licence may also be cancelled,” sources said.

The stringent action by DGCA against the flight commander came after Jet Airways reported the matter voluntarily to the authorities and derostered both the pilots, pending probe.

However, a Jet Airways spokesperson termed the fisticuffs in the cockpit as a case of “misunderstanding” between the pilots, which was “resolved amicably,” and said “the flight with 324 guests, including two infants and 14 crew, continued its journey to Mumbai, landing safely.”

“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,” the spokesperson said.

Cops said that criminal action could also be initiated against the male pilot if the female co-pilot lodges a police complaint for assault.

“So far, no police complaint has been lodged by the victim,” a senior police official said.

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