Journalism of Courage

Airline pilot leaves cockpit, ‘slaps’ co-pilot following mid-air fight 

It is very common among us to crack jokes about what would happen if no one is flying the flight we are in. Or trying to guess if a flight is on autopilot. What if the pilots fight? All the jokes and nightmares came true on the London-Mumbai flight 9W119 on January 1. The flight had 324 guests. The two senior pilots got into a fight and one slapped another.

The incident took place when the aircraft was in the Iran-Pakistan airspace  and was 2.45 hours away from its destination, an airline source said on Wednesday.

When contacted, a Jet Airways spokesperson said there was a “misunderstanding” between the cockpit crew and the same was “resolved amicably” and “quickly”.

“A misunderstanding occurred between the cockpit crew of 9W119 London-Mumbai flight on January 1. However, the same was quickly resolved amicably and the flight with 324 guests including two infants and 14 crew members completed its journey in Mumbai safely,” the airline spokesperson said.


However, a source alleged that the male pilot who has been working with the airline for over a decade had some “argument” with the female commander over some issues.

The source said these two senior pilots have been flying together for many years and have had arguments in the past as well. But that on the Monday flight, arguments turned violent and he slapped her, after which she came out of the cabin crying, the source alleged.

“The cabin crew persuaded her to go back to the cockpit but she refused. Following this, the male pilot came out of the cockpit, leaving the operations to the care of a cabin crew (which is a violation of flight safety norms) and persuaded her to return to the cockpit,” the source said.

The airline has reported the matter to the DGCA and the pilots involved in the incident have been taken off duties pending investigation that is underway, the airline spokesperson said.



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