Co-Pilot Accused of Hitting Pilot Before Takeoff

Both Air India aviators are said to be grounded while investigation continues
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2015 12:44 PM CDT
In this April 29, 2011, file photo, passenger jets from Air India, India's national carrier, stand at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India.   (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer, File)

(Newser) – With nerves still frayed from last month's Germanwings crash, this latest incident may not expedite a return to calm. Unnamed sources say that the co-pilot of an Air India plane physically abused the pilot after an argument over paperwork last night—and that they then proceeded to take off like nothing had happened, the Times of India reports. Although an airline spokesman tells the Press Trust of India that "there were only heated exchanges between the commander and co-pilot over some issue," both pilots have been grounded as an investigation into the matter is conducted, the Times notes. The scuffle on Flight AI 611, which was getting ready to depart Jaipur for New Delhi, apparently started when the captain asked the co-pilot to jot down some important preflight stats such as the number of passengers and takeoff weight, the Times reports.

"The co-pilot took offense at this and reportedly beat up the captain," an unnamed source tells the paper. After the alleged abuse, the pilot decided not to report the incident right away and fly on to Delhi anyway, "in the larger interest of the airline," the source adds. Senior Air India officials tell the Times this co-pilot has been under the microscope before, including for goading another captain into a fight and for previous "rude and unbecoming" actions; the captain of Flight AI 611 reportedly doesn't want to fly next to him again, either. USA Today and AFP note the airline has had its fair share of other troublesome incidents, including shoddy management, "technical glitches," and staff being tardy for work. (A woman's heartwarming letter to the pilots of her flight has gone viral.)

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