New Delhi: Budget passenger carrier SpiceJet today said that it has sacked a commander-level pilot on charges of sexual harassment.
The pilot was sacked after an internal complaint committee found him to be guilty of misconduct and sexually harassing an air hostess.
The incident occurred during the airline's February 28 Kolkata-Bangkok flight when the commander allegedly asked the air hostess to sit with him in the cockpit.
According to sources, the pilot allegedly asked his co-pilot to leave the cockpit for a substantial period of time, leaving the commander and the air hostess alone.
The commander repeated the act on the return leg of the journey. The pilot also used "unparliamentary language" with the Cabin Crew in Charge (CCI).
Further, on complaint of the air hostess an internal committee was set up to look into the matter and found the commander guilty.
"The incident would not have come to light if the pilot had not used abusive language with the cabin crew in charge. The very next day a complaint was received and the committee was setup to look into the matter," sources said.
"The committee after recording the statement of all the parties found the pilot guilty. The airline's Chairman Ajay Singh was keen to take the strictest action possible against the pilot."
After the inquiry the airline sacked the commander and informed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) about the incident.
In a statement the airline said that it is an equal opportunity employer.
"With respect to the present case, we wish to inform that we have internal complaint committee in place which is mandated by The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013," the statement said.
"We initiated inquiry process as per the guidelines laid in the said Act."
As per the airline, the services of the alleged pilot have been terminated and the case has been informed to DGCA by flight safety department.
Apart from the sexual harassment charges, the DGCA is said to have taken note of the flight safety breach caused by the incident.
The absence of the co-pilot from the cockpit for a substantial period of time is considered to be a major safety breach and violation of operational procedures.
If found guilty of safety breach, the license of the pilot may be suspended.