Air India suspends pilot, crew in mid-air cockpit scuffle | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Air India suspends pilot, crew in mid-air cockpit scuffle

delhi Updated: Oct 07, 2009 02:01 IST
Lalatendu Mishra
Lalatendu Mishra
Hindustan Times
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An initial probe by Air India into the mid-air cockpit scuffle has absolved the pilots of molestation charges, it is reliably learnt.

The airline, however, is yet to say it officially, considering the sensitivity involved. Air India had on Tuesday indicted the pilot and the pursuer for their involvement in the brawl.

“As per findings of the report, there was no molestation. The fight was started by the pursuer and he was the main instigator,” an official, who had access to the report findings, said on condition of anonymity.

The airline has set up a five member all-woman committee headed by a senior woman official to examine charges of sexual harassment levelled by the hostess.

“This committee, which began its probe, also has a representative from a non-governmental organisation in accordance with government guidelines,” Air India said in a statement.

Air India on Tuesday suspended pilot captain Ranbir Arora and flight pursuer Amit Khanna for their higher degree of involvement in the incident on board flight IC 884 on Saturday.

While pursuer Khanna, who is a Commercial Pilot Licence holder, has been held guilty for attitude problems during his dealings with the pilots and the resultant brawl, Captain Arora has been blamed for pushing the hostess out of the cockpit along with the pursuer, causing injuries on her arms, according to Air India officials.

“An altercation involving cockpit crew and cabin crew did take place. The extent of involvement and culpability of each of these individuals would be determined through a regular departmental enquiry,” Air India said in a statement.

“The commander and one of the cabin crew had greater involvement as compared to the others in magnifying the altercation. Therefore, the management has decided to place these two employees under suspension,” the statement added.

This was based on the findings of the internal committee that Air India set up to get to the root of the incident and initiate appropriate action. The co-pilot, Aditya Chopra, and airhostess, Komal Singh, will continue to be de-rostered pending further inquiry.

The airline also did not reveal the details as to what exactly happened that night.

The airline reiterated that the committee had established beyond doubt that the cockpit was not left unmanned at any stage of the flight.

The Delhi police are also probing the matter and have filed cases against the pilots. The National Commission for Women has also taken up the case.

Meanwhile, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association has stood by the management for the action initiated and has urged pilots not to have ego in the cockpit.