Air France has suspended two of its pilots for fighting in the cockpit during a Geneva-Paris flight in June.
According to Al Jazeera, the airline said on Sunday that despite the fistfight, the flight continued and landed safely, and the dispute did not affect the rest of the flight.
A report by the Swiss La Tribune daily said the pilot and co-pilot had a dispute shortly after takeoff and grabbed each other by their collars after one apparently hit the other.
The cabin crew intervened and one crew member spent the flight in the cockpit with the pilots, the report said.
The fight became public knowledge after France’s air investigation agency, BEA, issued a report on Wednesday saying some Air France pilots lacked rigour with regard to respecting safety protocols.
The BEA report focused on a fuel leak on an Air France flight from Brazzaville to Paris in December 2020, when pilots rerouted the plane but did not cut power to the engine or land as soon as possible, as the procedure requires.
Although the plane landed safely in Chad, the BEA report warned the engine could have caught fire.
It mentioned three similar cases between 2017 and 2022 and said some pilots are reacting by personally analysing the situation instead of following safety procedures.
The BEA also investigated an incident in April involving an Air France flight from New York City’s JFK airport that suffered flight control problems on approach to its landing in Paris.
After the incident, BEA said, the two pilots “simultaneously made inputs on the controls” during a go-around for a second attempt.
“The captain held the control column in a slightly nose-down position while the co-pilot made several, more pronounced, nose-up inputs,” Al Jazeera quoted the BEA report as saying.
Air France said it is carrying out a safety audit in response to the report.
Additionally, it pledged to follow BEA recommendations, which include allowing pilots to study their flights afterwards and making training manuals stricter about adhering to procedure.
The airline noted it flies thousands of flights daily and the report mentions only four such safety incidents.
Air France pilots’ unions have insisted security is paramount to all pilots and defended pilots’ actions during emergency situations.
Chiamaka Okafor is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.
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