An "argument" between a commander and his co-pilot of Air India's Jaipur-Delhi flight on Sunday gave some anxious moments to its passengers, as it came in the wake of the recent Germanwings plane crash, which is attributed to its co-pilot's mental illness.
While an Air India spokesman said it was just "an argument between the two and nothing more," other sources contradicted it, saying the co-pilot actually "abused and beat up" the commander.
The passengers on board flight 611 said that the co-pilot objected to something that the commander asked him to do and turned violent, just before takeoff from Jaipur airport.
"The commander told his co-pilot to take down critical take off figures for the flight. This involves writing critical facts like number of passengers on board, take off weight and fuel uptake on a small paper card (trim sheet) that is displayed in front of the pilots for the entire duration of the flight. The co-pilot took offence at this and reportedly beat up the captain," The Times of India quoted a source as saying.
Yet, the commander went ahead and flew to Delhi, though the normal procedure called for reporting the incident to the concerned authorities in Jaipur, which would have led to the cancellation of the flight. The commander reportedly kept the "larger interest of the airline".
The Air India dismissed the whole incident and said: "The two had an argument. They have settled the issue."
Incidentally, the co-pilot is said to have a record of similar tiffs in the past, according to senior Air India pilots.
"Three years back, he asked the commander of a flight to come out of the cockpit, remove the stars on his shirt collar (appulates) and then fought with him. A year later, another commander complained about his 'rude and unbecoming' behavior in the cockpit and questioned his state of mind," a senior commander said.
But the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that they will not be starting a probe into the incident as the plane was parked, IBNLive reported. If the commanders' allegations against him are true, then DGCA's decision to not order probe may affect aviation safety.