Air France pilots suspended after fight in cockpit
The incident was resolved quickly and the flight proceeded normally, she said, adding that the pilots were awaiting a decision from management on their “totally inappropriate behavior”.
The revelation of the physical altercation follows a report published on Tuesday by France’s civil aviation safety investigation authority, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses, concluding that a series of breaches of French branch of Air France-KLM indicated “changes and even violations” of procedures leading to a narrowing of safety margins. The carrier responded by committing to perform a safety audit and strengthen post-flight analyses.
In the June incident, an argument between the pilot and co-pilot turned physical shortly after takeoff as the plane gained altitude, with the men grabbing each other by the collar after one may -being hit or slapped each other, according to the newspaper report. . The cabin crew heard noise in the cockpit, intervened and a member spent the rest of the flight in the cockpit, said La Tribune.
The BEA said it was not informed of the incident as there were no consequences for the flight.
Tuesday’s BEA report focused on another Air France flight in which the pilots of an Airbus A330 flying over Chad in December 2020 detected at cruising altitude that 1.4 tonnes of fuel were missing from aircraft tanks. The crew circumvented safety procedures and increased the risk of fire – in flight or landing – by not shutting down the leaking engine or choosing to land at the nearest airport, concluded The report. The plane landed safely.
The BEA also opened an investigation in April into the cause of another Air France in-flight incident which it described as “serious”.
The pilots of a Boeing 777 aborted a landing at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport after telling air traffic controllers the plane was unresponsive on approach, when a pilot was heard saying he “was going crazy”. The New York flight landed safely on its second attempt.