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Indian airline grounds pilots after mid-air altercation


New Delhi –  An Indian Airline has grounded two pilots over allegations of mid-air altercation which put passengers’ lives in danger, officials and news reports said on Thursday.

Jet Airways confirmed that a “misunderstanding’’ occurred between the cockpit crew on the New Year’s Day flight, which had 324 passengers on board.

One pilot slapped his female colleague during a heated argument mid-air, which led her to leave the cockpit in tears, the Times of India daily reported.

The female pilot had to be persuaded to go back by the cabin crew, the report said.

Authorities said the male pilot had also briefly left the cockpit during the row, leaving the controls unattended, a gross violation of air safety rules.

The flight landed safely in Mumbai hours later.

Jet Airways said the crew had been “taken off their flying duties’’ pending an investigation.

The airline reported the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation saying it had “zero tolerance for any action of its employees that compromises safety’’.

“At Jet Airways, safety of guests, crew and assets is of paramount importance,’’ the airline said in a statement.

India’s aviation regulator had suspended the licence of the male pilot and also ordered a probe into the incident. (dpa/NAN)

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