Jet Airways sacks two pilots who fought in cockpit on flight

DELHI: Jet Airways has sacked its two senior commanders who were involved in a cockpit fight while flying from London to Mumbai on January 1. “Consequent to the review of the events on board Flight 9W 119 London-Mumbai of January 1, 2018, Jet Airways has terminated services of both the cockpit crew with immediate effect,” said a Jet Airways spokesperson on Tuesday.

Flight 9W 119 of January 1 was operated by two commanders. Jet’s senior most Boeing 777 commander was flying as co-pilot and his deputy was the commander of this flight.

The “co-pilot” had allegedly slapped the lady commander and then the cockpit was left unmanned on two occasions when he went out to bring her back in.

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The two Jet pilots’ troubles are unlikely to end with the airline sacking them. The “co-pilot”, according to top sources could end up losing his flying licence. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has taken a very serious view of this unprecedented episode.

“The cockpit fight was a shocking and a very serious incident. Both the pilots were out of the cockpit a couple of times and there was no one there. What if they had been locked out of the cockpit? This is unheard of and calls for extreme action,” said a top DGCA official.

The ‘extreme’ measure for licensed professionals like pilots is cancellation of licence by the issuing agency (in this case, the DGCA) after which they can no longer operate flights and fly only as a passenger.

Asked why action was taken only against the co-pilot, another regulatory official said: “It is alleged the lady commander was hit by the co-pilot and she left the cockpit. As per rules, one pilot can leave the cockpit as long as another is there. So she left when one pilot was still on the controls. While the probe will examine her role as well, prima facie the co-pilot’s hitting the commander and then leaving the cockpit to bring her back in — leaving the cockpit unmanned — led us to suspend his flying licence immediately.”


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