AI Flight Delayed After Air Rage Incident – In The Cockpit
Another air rage incident has caused the delay of a flight in India, but this time it wasn’t the pax who were to blame. An Air India pilot allegedly assaulted a ground engineer inside the cockpit as the plane was waiting for clearance to take off.
"Staff were cleaning the wind shield and attending to other technical aspects inside the cockpit when (Captain) Manik Lal walked in. He was not pleased to see too many people inside the cockpit and started to send them out. The flight engineer reached the cockpit and informed the pilot that the plane was yet to be handed over to the crew for flying. But the pilot refused to pay heed to the explanation," said an official.
This led to an argument which snowballed into a physical fight in which the flight engineer was injured. He was later admitted to a private hospital, the official added.
After hearing of the incident, a group of airport engineers threatened to go on strike and demanded action from the police.
After the punch up, the pilot allegedly locked himself in the cockpit.
Reports say Air India has started a probe into the incident. The Chennai-Delhi flight AI 143 carrying 142 pax took off with a new flight crew about 2 hours later.
An air safety expert says Indian aviation authorities are not doing enough and should conduct periodic psychological assessment of pilots. "There have been many instances of violence by crew, but the regulator has not taken action against them. They are back at work after a brief period and we have no proper system to assess the psychological state of pilots unlike those abroad, where medical checks include psychometric tests," said air safety consultant Mohan Ranganathan.