India pilots suspended over cockpit fight

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The flight was carrying 324 guests, including two infants

India's aviation regulator has barred two pilots who fought inside the cockpit from flying for five years.

The pilots involved - a man and a woman - were fired by the private Jet Airways after the incident on a London-Mumbai flight earlier this month.

The fight occurred mid-air on 1 January. The flight carrying 324 passengers landed safely in Mumbai.

Reports said the incident occurred after the male pilot slapped the female pilot.

Their flying licences have been suspended for putting flight safety under threat, as the pilots left the cockpit unattended twice during their mid-air brawl, a senior official of India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

"The commander came out of the cockpit about one hour before touchdown complaining of being physically harassed by the co-pilot. Soon after, the co-pilot also came out, leaving the cockpit unattended thereby jeopardising the safety of aircraft operations," he added.

The male pilot is accused of allegedly starting a physical fight with his co-pilot, during which he slapped her.

According to Indian media reports at the time, the woman left the cockpit in tears, but colleagues eventually persuaded her to go back.