After coffee cup photo, DGCA to serve showcause notice to pilot-in-command

SpiceJet said it had been able to identify two pilots and off-rostered them pending investigation

March 16, 2023 05:38 pm | Updated 10:17 pm IST - New Delhi

Two SpiceJet pilots were derostered for keeping a cup of beverage in the centre console.

Two SpiceJet pilots were derostered for keeping a cup of beverage in the centre console. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will serve a showcause notice to a SpiceJet pilot-in-command, seeking a response to a photograph of a coffee cup placed on a start lever inside the cockpit of an aircraft that went viral on social media.

The picture had invited flak from within the pilot fraternity for serious disregard of safety. Though the image didn’t capture the faces of the pilots involved, and only showed two people holding a gujiya (Indian sweet dumpling) and an uncovered coffee cup placed atop a start lever, the airline said it had been able to identify the two pilots and off-rostered them pending investigation.

The incident happened on the day of Holi on March 8 when gujiya is traditionally consumed. The pilots were flying from Delhi to Guwahati on a Boeing 737-NG aircraft. The airline said “appropriate disciplinary action will be taken upon completion of the investigation.”

A senior DGCA official said on the condition of anonymity that the pilot-in-command will be issued a showcause notice, and that it has also urged the airline “to take necessary corrective action for preventing such failures in future.”

On social media, some pilots explained that placing a cup of coffee atop the fuel cut-off levers was very dangerous. In the case of unexpected turbulence or if knocked by the hand, the liquid content could spill on the engine and the auxiliary power unit’s fire-fighting system and disable them. In the worst case scenario, it can even hamper the communication system.

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