Woman in cockpit: DGCA issues notices to Air India CEO, head of flight safety | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Woman in cockpit: DGCA issues notices to Air India CEO, head of flight safety

Apr 30, 2023 02:58 PM IST

A DGCA official said that Air India CEO and chief of its flight safety have been given 15 days to respond

India’s aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), issued show cause notices to Air India chief executive officer (CEO) Campbell Wilson and chief of its flight safety for lapses in not reporting a pilot’s violation of letting his woman friend into the cockpit.

The DGCA, last week, off rostered the entire crew operating flight AI 915 Delhi to Dubai on February 27. (Representative Image/REUTERS)
The DGCA, last week, off rostered the entire crew operating flight AI 915 Delhi to Dubai on February 27. (Representative Image/REUTERS)

HT had reported about the violation last week, leading to the regulator to initiate a probe into the matter.

“Show cause notices have been issued to CEO Air India and chief of flight safety both, on April 21. For the lapses in not timely reporting of the DGCA safety instructions violations to DGCA and for the delay in investigating the incident,” an official close to the investigation confirmed to HT. “They have been given 15 days to respond,” the official added.

A comment from Air India is awaited.

The development comes as the DGCA, last week, off rostered the entire crew operating flight AI 915 Delhi to Dubai on February 27. The development was a result of HT’s report that highlighted the complaint by the cabin supervisor on March 3. The airline, however, did not take action after which the complainant approached the DGCA.

Capt. Harsh Suri, the pilot in command , the first officer (co-pilot) and cabin crew including the ones serving the economy class passengers were summoned by the DGCA and their statements were recorded. The pilots, officials had said, will remain grounded until the investigation is concluded.

“Lack of timely intervention and action forced the whistle-blower to escalate the matter to DGCA.”

The complainant in a special incident report sent to Wilson and Henry Donohoe, head of safety, had stated, “I have been too shattered and too shocked with certain incidents, threatening and humiliating manner of the Commander, and his berating me and stripping me naked in public with his words and actions when I had raised the DGCA violations made by him...”

The complainant had not only detailed the violation of the pilot letting a woman passenger into the cockpit, but also pointed out his unusual aggressiveness and his various sexist comments about female crew members.

“I have never interacted with him in the past, hence I did not know Captain Suri was given to bouts of high intensity loss of rationality and super-aggressive behaviour. My thoughts instantly went to the pilot of GermanWings, Andrea Lubitz, and I was very scared at what this pilot could do, when he was so violent,” the complaint had stated. Lubitz, who had been treated for suicidal tendencies and declared unfit to work by his doctor, reported for duty and deliberately crashed a flight in the French Alps in March 2015, killing all 144 passengers and all six crew members.

Referring to the pee-gate incident when a male passenger allegedly urinated on a woman co- passenger, a matter reported to the top management but saw no action unless reported by media; the official said, “This is prima facie a default yet again by the airline.”

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