Wednesday 21 February 2018

Co-pilot 'beats up captain' in jet cockpit

Andreas Lubitz. AP Photo
Andreas Lubitz. AP Photo

David Millward

Two Air India pilots have been grounded following a row on board an Airbus shortly before it was due to take off.

The airline has ordered an inquiry into the incident, which took place on Sunday as the crew prepared the aircraft ahead of a flight from Jaipur to Delhi on Sunday night.

The reports of the argument came at a time when pilots' mental states have come under closer scrutiny following the Germanwings crash.

It has since emerged that Andreas Lubitz, the first officer who deliberately flew a passenger plane into the Alps killing 150 people, had been suffering from depression.

However, in the Jaipur incident, the row erupted when the co-pilot became irritated by instructions from the pilot to write down key information for the flight.

"The co-pilot took offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain," the 'Times of India' reported

Describing the incident as a "scuffle", the 'Hindustan Times' said the co-pilot, who was an older man than the captain, took offence at being addressed as "uncle". The flight went ahead, to avoid inconveniencing the passengers, and the incident was later reported by the captain.

An Air India spokesman denied that there had been any physical confrontation between the two men on the plane.

"The commander in his report has also stated that it was a minor argument and not any fight as such. We are probing the issue and based on the findings of the report, we will take appropriate action," a spokesman said.

"Both the pilots have been derostered and an inquiry has been ordered into this."

A separate inquiry will be conducted by India's air safety regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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