Air India co-pilot attacks pilot in cockpit right before take-off

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Air India has grounded two of its pilots after a fight erupted between the pair just before take-off, local reports said on Monday (March 6).

The co-pilot allegedly assaulted the captain inside the cockpit as they were preparing to fly the plane from Jaipur to New Delhi on Sunday (March 5) night, reported the Hindustan Times newspaper.

The Times Of India reported that the co-pilot was irritated by his superior’s request to write down critical information for the flight, such as the number of passengers on board, take-off weight and fuel uptake.

"The co-pilot took offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain," the newspaper said, quoting unnamed sources.

"In the larger interest of the airline, the commander decided to go ahead with the flight and flew to Delhi," the daily added.

Not the first time

But the airline denied any violence took place, saying there was only a verbal argument between the pair, according to the Press Trust of India.

"There were only heated exchanges between the commander and co-pilot over some issue. We have already derostered the two pilots pending an enquiry," an Air India spokesman told the news agency.

This is not the first incident involving the co-pilot.

The Times Of India reported a senior commander at the state-run carrier as saying: "Three years back, he asked the commander of a flight to come out of the cockpit, removed the stars on his shirt collar and then fought with him.

"A year later, another commander complained about his 'rude and unbecoming' behaviour in the cockpit and questioned his state of mind."

The pilot in the most recent incident has reportedly told the airline that he does not want to fly with the co-pilot in future.

Sources: AFP, Hindustan Times, The Times Of India