Air France pilots suspended for cockpit fight

One crew member had to spend the whole flight in the cockpit with the pilots

The fight broke out in the cockpit of a Geneva-Paris flight in June. EPA
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Two Air France pilots were suspended after fighting in the cockpit during a flight in June, an Air France official has confirmed.

The dispute, on a Geneva-Paris flight, continued after it was broken up but the flight landed safely without diverting, Air France said.

The official stressed the airline’s commitment to safety.

Switzerland’s La Tribune first reported that the pilot and co-pilot had a dispute shortly after take-off.

They grabbed each other by their collars after one apparently hit the other before cabin crew intervened.

One crew member spent the flight in the cockpit with the pilots, the report said.

News of the fight emerged after France’s air investigation agency, BEA, issued a report on Wednesday saying that some Air France pilots lack rigour in respecting procedures during safety incidents.

It focused on a fuel leak on an Air France flight from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo 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 leak procedure requires.

The plane landed safely in Chad but the BEA report warned that the engine could have caught fire.

It mentioned three similar cases between 2017 and 2022, and said some pilots were acting on their own analysis of the situation instead of safety protocols.

Air France said it was carrying out a safety audit in response.

It pledged to follow the BEA’s recommendations, which included allowing pilots to study their flights afterwards and making training manuals stricter about sticking to procedure.

The airline said it had thousands of flights daily and the report mentions only four safety incidents.

Air France pilots' unions have insisted that security is paramount to all pilots and defended their actions during emergency situations.

The BEA also investigated an incident in April involving an Air France flight from New York’s JFK airport that suffered flight control problems on approach to its landing in Paris.

Updated: August 28, 2022, 11:41 PM