Two Air France pilots suspended after fighting in the cockpit

Punching in the cockpit, leaving a leaking engine running while cruising around Africa. French Air pilots are under scrutiny after recent incidents that have caused French investigators to call for stricter security protocols.

Two Air France pilots were suspended after getting into a physical fight in the cabin of a Geneva-Paris flight in June, an Air France official said. The flight continued and landed safely, and the dispute did not affect the rest of the flight, the official said, emphasizing the airline’s commitment to safety.

Swiss The Tribune reported that the pilot and co-pilot got into a dispute shortly after takeoff and grabbed each other by the neck after one apparently struck the other. Cabin crew intervened and a crew member spent the flight in the cockpit with the pilots, according to the report.

Air France planes are parked on the tarmac at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, near Paris. (AP)

News of the fight came after France’s aviation investigation agency, BEA, issued a report on Wednesday saying some Air France pilots do not strictly adhere to procedures during security incidents.

It focused on a fuel leak on an Air France flight from Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo to Paris in December 2020, when pilots diverted the plane but failed to cut engine power and land as soon as possible, as required by the escape procedure. The plane landed safely in Chad, but the BEA report warned that the engine could have caught fire.

He cited three similar cases between 2017 and 2022, saying some pilots are acting based on their own analysis of the situation rather than safety protocols.

Air France said it is carrying out a safety audit in response. He has pledged to follow the BEA’s recommendations, which include allowing pilots to study their flights afterward and making training manuals more stringent about procedural compliance.

The airline noted that it operates thousands of daily flights and the report mentions only four such security incidents.

Air France pilots’ unions have insisted that safety is paramount for all pilots and defended pilots’ 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 as it approached its landing in Paris.

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