BBC reported that 2 Indian pilots from SpiceJet Airline have been grounded for allegedly having coffee and snacks placed on the control panel inside the cockpit during a flight in midair.
The incident came to light after a photo showing an open cup placed next to the throttle of a SpiceJet aircraft went viral earlier this week. Reports said the flight was cruising at 37,000ft at the time when the photo was taken. It was flying from Delhi to the north-eastern city of Guwahati on 8 March.
The photo sparked outrage, prompting India’s aviation regulator to issue a warning to the airline. SpiceJet on Wednesday (15 Mar 2023) said it was looking into the matter and had taken 2 pilots, who allegedly took the photo, off-duty.
“Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against them upon completion of an investigation,” an airline spokesperson said.
The photo has sparked anger on social media with people condemning the pilot’s reckless behaviour that could have affected the safety of passengers. “This is a positively dangerous act and shows a total lack of safety consciousness of the pilots,” one person tweeted.
Another Twitter user said, “The carelessness displayed by the pilots is deeply concerning. Just imagine the potential consequences if turbulence had occurred during the flight.”
“If the liquid spills, it can short circuit the electronics affecting a range of systems and compromise the aircraft’s ability to fly safely,” someone else added.
Last year, Spicejet suffered at least 8 instances of technical glitches, causing alarm among flyers and raising scrutiny from federal aviation regulators.
@CaptShaktiLumba @AwakenIndia @leofsaldanha @NarendranKs @OMRcat @jagritichandra @nambath @JM_Scindia Samosa and tea at 37000ft, cruising at 0.79M!Even horoscope cant save you if there is an emergency😡 pic.twitter.com/6UfhnDfzOk
— Mohan Ranganathan (@Mohan_Rngnathan) March 14, 2023
Even pilots from Vistara airline co-owned by Tata Group and the Singapore Airlines (SIA ) have been found to be reckless at times.
Last June, Vistara was fined one million rupees (US$12,100) after a first officer landed a passenger flight without completing the required training.