India's Jet Airways says it has ordered an investigation into reports that a senior pilot slapped a female co-pilot in the cockpit during a London to Mumbai flight this week.
India's Jet Airways says it has ordered an investigation into reports that a senior pilot slapped a female co-pilot in the cockpit during a London to Mumbai flight this week. AP Photo - R S Iyer

Pilot slaps female colleague mid-flight

A CO-PILOT of an Indian airliner slapped the female pilot during a London-to-Mumbai flight on New Year's Day - sending her fleeing from the cockpit in tears, according to a report.

Jet Airways - whose slogan is "The Joy of Flying" - grounded the pilots after the fight, which occurred shortly after the Boeing 777 took off on its nine-hour flight with 324 passengers and 14 crew members aboard, the Times of India reported.

"The co-pilot slapped the lady commander 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, but in vain," a source told the news outlet.

"The co-pilot also kept buzzing (calling from the intercom in the cockpit) the crew, asking them to send the second pilot back," the source said.

When the flight attendants could not get the woman back to the controls, the co-pilot reportedly came out - leaving the cockpit empty in violation of safety rules - and persuaded her to return to duty.

"However, they had a fight for the second time following which she came out again. This time, the cabin crew was quite afraid of the fight happening in the cockpit," the source told the Times of India.

"They requested her to go to the cockpit and fly the plane safely to its destination."

Realising that passengers were scared for their lives, she finally returned to the cockpit and the plane landed in Mumbai just after midnight on Tuesday.

An airline spokesman described the sky-high drama as a "misunderstanding" that was resolved "amicably".

Jet Airways reported the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the two pilots were grounded pending an internal investigation.

"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 spokesman said.

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.



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