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A Scuffle In The Cockpit – Air France Suspends Pilots After Mid-Air Disagreement

Two Air France pilots have been suspended following an in-flight altercation. The two pilots faced corrective action after reportedly coming to blows in the cockpit of a flight to Paris, which took place earlier this summer. Let’s look at what happened….

The incident occurred on a flight between Geneva and Paris in June and was reportedly resolved quickly. A spokesperson for the airline confirmed to Bloomberg that the flight proceeded as usual and that the pilots have been awaiting a decision by management on their inappropriate behavior.

So what happened exactly? Well, according to local news, the pilot and the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 had a disagreement that turned into a physical altercation mid-flight. The June incident escalated to this level shortly after takeoff, and while the plane climbed to its cruising altitude. Although the cause of the altercation could not be
confirmed at the time of this article’s production, the two men reportedly took each other by the collars and potentially hit or slapped each other before the noise alerted fellow crewmembers.

One pilot’s version of the events indicated an “inadvertent blow” that led to the escalation of aggression. The other pilot claims that it was a slap. Eventually, one of the pilots alleged the other threw a wooden object in his face! Upon hearing the noise in the cockpit, members of the cabin crew stepped in to calmly defuse the situation just as the tension died down. One member of the cabin even stayed in the cockpit with the pilots for the remainder of the journey, to ensure peace and record the situation for later review.

Thankfully for all those involved, as well as the passengers, the flight landed safely in Geneva. The Skyteam Alliance carrier confirmed the dispute and exchange of inappropriate gestures without further revealing the altercation’s specifics. The source of the disagreement was not readily apparent.

Could it have been one or both individuals having a bad day? Perhaps a bad joke? Or was it the co-pilot’s refusal to follow instructions? Unfortunately, we can only make guesses… However, Air France established that the incident quote “ended quickly without affecting either the conduct or the safety of the flight which continued normally” and specified that the airline had removed the pilots involved from active flying pending a managerial decision. The incident was not referred to France’s civil aviation safety investigation authority, who confirmed it was not notified of the incident as there were no consequences for the flight.

These types of incidents seem to be quite rare – or at least rarely get to the level of public media attention. We’re not quite sure how situations like this get dealt with… Maybe a counseling session with the two pilots will be arranged? Or perhaps the airline will simply take steps to avoid scheduling the two pilots on the same flight…

What do you think Air France should do if these two continue to work for the airline? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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