New Delhi: Two Air India pilots have been suspended after they allowed a south Indian actress to sit inside the cockpit on a Bengaluru-Hyderabad flight, with the DGCA probing the 'flagrant violation' of safety norms.
"We are examining the issue. Air India management has sent a report to the (Civil Aviation) Ministry. They have acted as per the operations manual," DGCA chief Arun Mishra told PTI.
Airline sources said both the pilots have been suspended and taken off the roster, pending an internal inquiry.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is conducting a thorough probe into the 'flagrant violation of passenger safety norms', a senior official said.
Nithya Menen has acted in movies in all the South Indian languages
The pilots, Jagan M. Reddy and S. Kiran, had allowed 25-year-old actress Nithya Menen to enter the cockpit mid-air and sit through the flight duration, according to a complaint lodged by a passenger. The passenger said the actress had, during the hour-long flight, occupied the observer's seat, which is reserved for examiners and observers authorised by DGCA.
With quite a few such incidents coming to fore in the past months, the regulator is considering imposing harsher penalties on the cockpit crew, the sources said, adding that cockpit entry by a passenger is completely prohibited since the 9/11 terror strike.
In May, the pilot of an Air India flight from Delhi to Bengaluru got locked out of the cockpit as the door got jammed, resulting in the co-pilot making an emergency landing in Bhopal. In April, two stewardesses were inside the cockpit for nearly 45 minutes as one of the two pilots had taken a long break.