In a serious breach of airline safety procedures, two senior pilots (commanders) of Jet Airways, who were operating a London – Mumbai flight on January 1, 2018, left the cockpit of the Boeing 77W simultaneously after a mid-air cockpit fight came to the passenger cabin.
According to various media reports, the two pilots, who are a couple, were operating 9W119 on Tuesday from London to Mumbai, with the lady captain being in charge of the flight. A few hours later, they had an altercation in the cockpit, which also led to the co-pilot slapping the lady captain. Subsequently, the captain left the cockpit, which should not have happened in the first place.
A cabin crew convinced the captain to return to the cockpit, talking her into it due to the fact that the captain is the CEO of the plane and her negligence could have put lives at risk. The co-pilot first asked the cabin crew to send back the commander to the cockpit, but when she did not budge, he came out of the cockpit as well to bring her back inside.
Leaving the cockpit unattended is a gross violation of safety rules, even on auto-pilot, given the computer flies the aircraft but the human being needs to be on top of the situation in case something happens which can’t be assessed by the computer. Also, beats me how the two pilots, who seem to be in some sort of a romantic engagement, be rostered together on this flight, given that this is another safety issue.
Jet Airways issued a statement,
A misunderstanding occurred between the cockpit crew of Jet Airways flight 9W 119, London – Mumbai of January 01, 2018. However, the same was quickly resolved amicably and the flight with 324 guests including 2 infants and 14 crew continued its journey to Mumbai, landing safely. The airline has reported the incident to the DGCA and the concerned crew has been derostered pending an internal investigation, that has since been initiated. At Jet Airways, safety of guests, crew, and assets is of paramount importance and the airline has zero tolerance for any action of its employees that compromises safety.
While Jet Airways has de-rostered both the pilots, it is also reported that the male co-pilot has his license suspended by the regulator as well.
This is not the first time Jet Airways’ pilots have landed the airline in a soup. Back in the day, they have had jets scramble after them after they drifted into no-go zones and the pilots did not respond to the air traffic controllers to course correct.
I can’t seem to still wrap my head around the part where two people let emotion take over what is a methodical and system-oriented, precision-oriented job. Did they put lives in harm’s way? We don’t know. But they for sure did not do their job well, and there should be consequences.