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Jet Airways has grounded two of its senior pilots for fighting inside the cockpit of a London-Mumbai flight on January 1. The commander allegedly slapped the lady co-pilot mid-flight after which she left the cockpit in tears. After great persuasion she went back to the cockpit but is learnt to have come out again in a huff. This time, the frightened cabin crew requested her to go back and safely operate the flight to its destination. Luckily the plane landed safely. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has suspended the co-pilot’s flying licence and ordered a probe into the entire episode.
This unprecedented cockpit fight happened on 9W 119 soon after the Boeing 777 took off for its 9-hour journey to Mumbai with 324 passengers and 14 crew members on board on New Year Day at 10 am (UK time). “Some time after the plane took off, the two had a fight. The captain slapped the co-pilot and she left the cockpit in tears. She stood in the galley sobbing. The cabin crew tried to comfort her and send her back to the cockpit. Meanwhile, the captain also kept buzzing (calling from the telecom in the cockpit) to the crew, asking them to send the second pilot back,” said sources.
Then the commander reportedly came out of the cockpit — leaving the cockpit unmanned in gross violation of safety rules — and persuaded the co-pilot to return with him to the controls. “However, they again had a fight and the co-pilot came out again. This time the cabin crew was quite afraid of the fight happening in the cockpit. They requested her to go to the cockpit and fly the plane safely to its destination,” said sources. Realising the fear factor among everyone, the co-pilot returned to the cockpit and the plane landed safely in Mumbai just after midnight of January 1-2.
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Confirming this fight, a Jet Airways spokesman said: “A misunderstanding occurred between the cockpit crew of Jet Airways flight 9W 119, London – Mumbai of January 01, 2018. However, the same was quickly resolved amicably and the flight with 324 guests including 2 infants and 14 crew continued its journey to Mumbai, landing safely. The airline has reported the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the concerned crew have been derostered pending an internal investigation that has since been initiated. 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.”‘
Terming this a “serious issue”, DGCA chief B S Bhullar told TOI: “We have ordered an investigation into this and have suspended the privileges of co-pilot’s license pending the probe.”
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