Air India fined ₹30 lakh after pilot invites lady friend into cockpit

Pilot faces 3 month suspension, co-pilot issued a warning too

May 12, 2023 10:54 pm | Updated 10:54 pm IST - NEW DELHI

File image for representation. The incident happened on a Delhi-Dubai flight on February 27.

File image for representation. The incident happened on a Delhi-Dubai flight on February 27. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The DGCA on Friday imposed a fine of ₹30 lakh on Air India and suspended a pilot-in-command for a period of three months after he entertained a lady friend in the cockpit and demanded that she be served alcohol and snacks.

“The CEO of Air India received a complaint from one of the operating crew members of the flight. However, the organisation did not take prompt corrective action despite this being a safety sensitive violation. Anticipating delayed response, the complainant approached the DGCA,” the regulator said in a press statement.

The licence of the pilot has been suspended for three months for misuse of his authority and violation of DGCA’s regulations. The co-pilot too has been warned for not being assertive in preventing the violation. The passenger, who was an airline staffer, will face administrative action, with the DGCA demanding that she be removed from any managerial functions in the organisation for a specified period of time.

The incident happened on a Delhi-Dubai flight on February 27 when the pilot in command ordered the cabin crew to prepare the cockpit for his friend. “The pilot said the cockpit should appear welcoming, warm and comfortable, as though he was preparing his living room for a lady friend. Also, to take her drinks and snacks order and serve her in the cockpit,” according to the complainant who added in her complaint that when she objected the pilot snapped at her and “started treating me like a servant working exclusively for him.”

The complainant also claimed that when the passenger was inside the cockpit neither of the pilots were in their usual positions.

“I noticed that the first officer was sleeping reclined fully with a pillow and the pilot in charge was sitting across facing the passenger in the rear observer station to chat. The pilot in charge indicated that the first officer (co-pilot) was taking a controlled rest and sleep,” the complaint stated.

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