Air France suspends two pilots over their mid-flights fight

Europe: Two Air France pilots have been banned after punching one other in the cockpit on a flight from Geneva to Paris on June 8, according to an airline official.

The captain and co-pilot of the aircraft got into a fight shortly after takeoff from the Swiss city, which, according to the reports, resulted in one of them punching the other and the two grasping for one other’s collars.

As a result, the cabin staff was compelled to step in, and one member remained in the cockpit to watch the couple for the duration of the roughly one-hour and 15-minute journey to the French capital.

The mid-air brawl did not affect the rest of the flight, as well as the plane, and it landed safely, as per the airline’s representation.

According to the sources, an airline representative also referred to the since-grounded pilots’ actions as “absolutely improper.”

The suspension occurs as the Paris-based carrier is under increased scrutiny for security and safety issues.

In addition, the France air investigation, BEA, released a report in the previous week which concluded that the airline’s pilots had fostered a culture of not following safety guidelines by the book.

The report centred on a December 2020 flight from Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, to Paris, when the crew rerouted that plane to Chad and landed after discovering a fuel leak but did not cut the engine or land as soon as possible, per leak safety procedures, which could have resulted in the engine catching fire. 

Additionally, the report cited three similar cases between 2017 and 2022, noting that the pilots seem to be acting based on what they think is the best versus established safety protocols. 

Additionally, in response to the report, Air France indicated performing a safety audit and committed to implementing the agency’s recommendations.

This involves creating stronger training manuals for following protocols and enabling pilots to analyze the flights after a trip.



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