Jet Airways suspends pilot for allowing trainee to be copilot

Jet Airways had suspended the pilot of one of its flights and another cockpit crew for two and half months for allowing a trainee pilot to take over from co-pilot to land the plane in Mumbai, endangering all those onboard.

Aviation regulator DGCA had asked the Jet to take action against the pilot and the chief of its flight safety in connection with the incident that had taken place about four months ago, official sources said.

A Jet Airways spokesperson said the action against the pilot and another member of the cockpit crew was taken based on "appropriate investigations and a confidential report".

The commander, who had asked the co-pilot to make way for the trainee pilot on board, was suspended for two and half months. However, he resumed flying after serving out his suspension period.

DGCA had asked the Jet Airways to take action against the chief of its flight safety in connection with the incident. The airlines spokesperson said "we have been in discussion with DGCA. They are completely satisfied with the steps taken".

"In line with international practises on enforcing safety, a voluntary and confidential reporting system exists in Jet Airways for all its employees", she said. 

An airline is expected to voluntarily report safety issues, including minor snags, to the aviation regulator regularly and the flight safety chief is directly responsible for coordinating with DGCA on all safety issues.

Terming the incident as "a very serious violation" of safety rules, sources said if such incidents are not reported, the offence becomes even more serious.

DGCA can impose heavy fine on the airline, suspend the captain in question and even fire the Director of flight operations, they said, adding the operator's flight permit can also be cancelled as a final measure.

The incident had occured a few months after DGCA's safety audit of all Indian airlines, which among other things found that the financial crisis was leading them to ignore safety issues.

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