Pilots` body defends colleague suspended for mid-air fight

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - 21:20

New Delhi: Air India Pilots` Association
on Tuesday came out in support of their colleague pilot who was
suspended for alleged involvement in a mid-air scuffle, saying
he had acted in a "cool" manner and sought to fault the air
hostess and purser for the development.

President of Indian Commercial Pilots` Association
(ICPA) Captain Shailendra Singh said the organisation reserves
the right to appeal against the management`s decision to
suspend Captain Ranbir Arora and would decide on it after the
probe being carried out by Delhi Police, Air India and DGCA is
"I appreciate that despite whatever had happened, the
pilots maintained their cool and operated the flight from
Sharjah to Lucknow to Delhi," Singh told reporters on the
October 3 incident involving the Air India pilot, co-pilot
Aditya Chopra, flight purser Amit Khanna and air hostess Komal

Defending Arora who pushed Komal out of the cockpit
during the scuffle in which she sustained injuries, Singh said
"what would a commander do if someone was not obeying his
command to leave the cockpit. It was done keeping in mind the
safety of the flight and the passengers."

Contending that he actually didn`t know what had
happened, he said "but I have seen bruises on the face of the
co-pilot (Aditya Chopra). He (Amit Khanna) was physically sent
out of the cockpit and since Komal was standing behind him she
also got hurt."

Suggesting that cabin crew members should have
maintained their cool, the ICPA president said "even if some
senior says anything to the junior, they (juniors) should have
maintained the discipline."

He said the "cabin crew is there not just to serve tea
and coffee. They are highly responsibile for the safety of the
aircraft too."

On Arora`s suspension, Singh said "we have full faith
in the management. Whatever they have decided is as per the
preliminary inquiry".
He, however, said the Association reserves the right of
appeal after the final outcome.

Noting that separate inquiries were being conducted by
the airline, the police and the DGCA, he said "let these be
completed, then only we will decide whether to appeal or what
should be done."

Asserting that whoever was found guilty should be
punished, Singh said "if there was some problem, there is a
proper place to resolve it. Aircraft certainly is not the
right place to sort out your issues. The issues should have
been settled amicably."

He said the whole issue has "made a mockery of aviation
and created an element of distrust among us."

At the same time, he said Komal was like his sister
while describing the pilots and the flight purser as his

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - 21:20
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