A pilot for Air India has been placed under investigation after he allegedly entertained a female non-airline employee in the cockpit during a recent flight. Air India and local aviation regulators say they are investigating the serious allegations which were reported by a disgruntled member of cabin crew.
The incident reportedly took place on February 27 during a three-and-a-half-hour flight from New Delhi to Dubai. Air India operates several flights between DEL and DXB daily, using both single-aisle Airbus A320 series airplanes and larger widebody Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
No action was immediately taken against the pilot but following the flight, a member of the cabin crew filed a safety report because they were concerned that the Captain was breaching aviation safety and security rules.
According to local media reports, the flight attendant also complained that the pilot was sexist and chauvinistic.
After making it clear to the Captain that he was breaking strict security rules, the flight attendant says he became violent, rude and abusive towards her. Air India says it takes a “zero tolerance” policy towards safety complaints but did not confirm whether the pilot had been suspended.
The complaint alleges that the Captain first tried to get his female friend upgraded to Business Class, but when this wasn’t possible, he called on the cabin crew to give her access to the flight deck.
The Captain then called for food and drinks to be served to them both on the flight deck, but the cabin crew refused his demands. Afterwards, the Captain allegedly refused to engage with the crew as they were dealing with an unruly passenger onboard.
The pilot was first seen with his female friend in the airport and refused to walk with the crew and instead preferred the company of the woman.
In a statement, Air India commented: “We have also reported the matter to the DGCA and are cooperating with their investigations. We have zero tolerance in aspects related to the safety and well-being of our passengers and will take requisite action.”
The Tata & Son conglomerate retook control of Air India in 2002 after 69 years of government control with ambitious plans of turning the beleaguered airline around.
Tats has grand plans to take delivery of hundreds of new aircraft in the next few years to massively increase capacity and improve the passenger experience. The company wants to take on Persian Gulf rivals but has so far been battling a series of scandals that do little for Air India’s brand image.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.