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Major airline grounds pilots after cockpit scuffle — Analysis

Following a dispute during a Geneva-Paris flight, Air France suspended two pilots

Two Air France pilots have been suspended after an altercation inside the cockpit on a summer flight. The incident was reported by the Swiss La Tribune, who spoke with airline officials Saturday. This news is coming as Air France faces criticism for not following safety regulations.

A spokeswoman from Air France confirmed that the incident occurred in mid-air during an Airbus flight between Geneva and Paris. It happened shortly after takeoff when the pilot of the Airbus plane had their dispute. Following an apparent collision, the pilots grabbed one another by the collars. After one pilot hit the other, both took hold of each other by the collars. The spokeswoman said that the cabin crew finally intervened.

The incident was noted by her. “ended quickly”It did not affect the safety of flight and continued in normal fashion once the dispute was over. La Tribune was informed by an official that pilots are now grounded, and management is awaiting their decision. 

News of the fight follows a report issued last week by France’s air investigation agency, BEA, which accused some Air France pilots of failing to follow the correct procedures during safety incidents. 

Reporters focused their attention on the fuel leak that occurred on Air France’s December 2020 flight between Brazzaville in Congo and Paris. Pilots on that flight rerouted it but didn’t cut off power or stop the engines so they could land quickly, according to fuel leak emergency procedures. However, they were able to land safely in Chad. The BEA however notes that pilots had been running the risk of engine damage or combustion.

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According to the BEA, Air France pilots made their decisions based on an analysis and not strictly adhering to safety protocol in similar situations between 2017-2022.

In response, Air France said it would be carrying out a safety audit and pledged to follow the BEA’s recommendations to advise pilots to review their flights afterward. Air France also promised to tighten safety guidelines in training manuals.

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