'Plane safety was never compromised'

'Plane safety was never compromised'

Responding to queries that at one point of time during the scuffle the cockpit was left unmanned, an AI spokesman said none of the two pilots, commander Ranbeer Arora and captain Aditya Chopra, had come out of the cockpit.

Denying some reports to this effect, he said, “There was never an instance of no pilot being present in the cockpit. The commander of the flight was in his seat throughout the flight and never left it. Thus, there was no question of flight safety being compromised. This could also be corroborated by the recordings of the cockpit voice recorder (or the black box).”

Describing the incident as “a clear case of indiscipline”, the spokesperson said the Air India management would take stringent action against whoever was found guilty, on the basis of the inquiry report. The incident is now being probed by the Air India management, the Delhi Police and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. A three-member probe panel has been set up by Air India to conduct a separate inquiry into the incident on the Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi flight.

An airline statement said: “Reflecting urgency, the committee met for eight hours yesterday and the whole day today. Both the pilots and the two cabin crew members involved (in the scuffle) were given an opportunity to give their account of the happenings on board the flight. The committee also examined the engineer who was on the flight.  The inquiry committee is likely to complete the examination later this evening and is expected to submit its report to the management on Monday.”

It added: “Air India would like to reassure its travelling public that the airline would not allow any section of the employees to take any action that compromises safety.”