An Air India commander has landed the national carrier in the thick of controversy over reports suggesting that he allegedly threatened junior trainee pilots with an axe on more than one occasion. What is shocking is that purported incidents allegedly took place mid air. The matter came to light when two trainee pilots raised the matter with higher authorities, complaining of the commander’s intimidating behaviour, reported Times of India.
Taking cognisance of the matter, Air India has acted tough against the instructor and said that he will not be allowed to carry out his duty pending probe. “The captain (is) not to exercise the privileges of type rated instructor (Airbus) with effect from February 28, 2018 until further notice,” it said.
On January 26, a junior trainee pilot lodged a complaint with Air India saying that the commander had once hit him on his head when the flight was at 5,000 ft. The trainee also alleged that on one occasion, the trainer took out the crash axe and kept it on the controls threatening to hit him with it, reported TOI. On January 27, another trainee pilot complained against the same pilot alleging that she too was threatened to be hit with an axe.
An investigation is underway even as the airline said that he can be removed solely for his rude behaviour. The pilot has been removed as instructor and a probe has been ordered, the airline said.
The development at AI comes even as some members of a parliamentary panel yesterday questioned the disinvestment of Air India and sought to know who should be held accountable for the huge losses incurred by the state-run carrier, sources said. At the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), they also raised questions about the government’s decision to sell its stake in the airline despite its decision to merge both Air India and the erstwhile Indian Airlines into a single entity.