Mid-air scuffle: Air India suspends pilot, crew member

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New Delhi:  Air India has suspended a pilot and a crew member over the mid-air scuffle episode. Air India has suspended Ranbir Arora, the captain of flight IC 884 and flight purser Amit Khanna.

Confirming the suspension, Air India has said that the role of Captain Arora and Khanna in the brawl was much more than the other two crew members.

Air India has also said that the attitude of Amit Khanna was objectionable while that of Captain Arora's, when he pushed the air hostess, was also objectionable.

Separate departmental inquiry will take place to decide the extent of involvement, the culpability and the quantum of punishment for all four involved.

Co-pilot Aditya Chopra and airhostess Komal Singh will remain de-rostered till the inquiry is over, Air India has said.

And a separate committee will be set up to look into the sexual harassment charge levelled by Komal Singh.

Earlier on Tuesday, addressing a press conference, Shailendra Singh, president of Indian Commercial Pilots Association, said that the issue needs to be sorted as soon as possible, as "this is putting a question mark on the credibility of aviation."

"We will not get hyper about the reports on the enquiry. We have to respect the management and give them the right information," said Shailendra.

He said that the pilots did not lose cool and did operate the flight safely.

"No matter what happens, there is a norm that has to be followed. So much of ego in the cockpit is not expected,"

On Monday, Captain Ranbir Arora had hinted that the cockpit was unmanned during the scuffle.

Ranbir Arora had said: "In the process of asking them (the airhostess and her friend) to go out of the cockpit, I had to actually push them outside cockpit as my first officer was hurt and bleeding. The entire conversation of Amit Khanna was for at least 10 minutes. From the time he came he started abusive language."

However, on Monday itself, Air India declared that the cockpit was not unmanned during the scuffle, and the security of the passengers was not compromised with.

Two pilots and two crew members were involved in Saturday's mid-air scuffle.

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