The argument between Rajya Sabha MP P.V. Abdul Wahab and an Air India pilot has escalated into a major row with the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) threatening to file a defamation suit against the lawmaker.
ICPA added that global pilot organisations would be requested to blacklist Wahab from flying for endangering flight security if the government doesn’t take action.
The MP was asked to get off an Air India aircraft at Kozhikode on Tuesday by its pilot Captain Rajat Rana after he was allegedly late for the flight. ICPA also alleges that Wahab called the pilots ‘glorified drivers’ after barging into the cockpit. Wahab has denied entering the cockpit and said he would move a privilege motion in Parliament against the pilot.
“There was a breach of security according to the operations manual given to all Air India pilots. We want the MP to apologise for using unparliamentary language,” said ICPA President Captain Kapil Raina. “Would he do the same in any other airline?” he said.
ICPA has already shot off letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes. It said if no action takes place, they would approach the US Homeland Security and International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Association (IFALPA) to bar Wahab from flying to the US.
“Captain Rana didn’t argue with the MP and acted as per procedure. The international flight was already delayed and the pilot had a long day,” Raina said. “The MP breached level four of aircraft security by entering the cockpit and Captain Rana had to call security,” he said.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said that action could only be taken after the inquiry is over.