Pilots suspended after photos showed them having hot coffee and pastries in the cockpit
An Indian airline, SpiceJet, has suspended two of its pilots after they allegedly consumed coffee and pastries inside the cockpit, a situation that could have gone awry if one of the hot drinks had been spilled.
A photograph showing an uncovered mug with the airline’s logo placed dangerously close to the control levers inside the cockpit has sparked outrage from netizens.
The pilots, whose faces were not shown in the photos, were also holding gujiyas, a sweet fried pastry typically eaten during the Hindu festival Holi, which took place on March 8 this year.
A statement from SpiceJet revealed that both pilots have been removed from the list pending an investigation.
“SpiceJet has a strict policy (regarding) the consumption of food inside the cockpit which is adhered to by all flight crew. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken upon completion of the investigation,” the spokesperson said.
Shakti Lumba, a retired pilot and former chief operating officer of Indian carrier IndiGo, said the pilots’ “feel-good social media photo shoot” was “immature” and “undesirable”, especially since they are responsible for the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.
“It was totally inexplicable behavior. All pilots are aware of the dangers of spilled liquids in the cockpit,” he said, adding that most company rules and aviation regulations prohibit place food and liquids on the center console of the pedestal.
Beneath this console is a vast array of electrical cables essential to aircraft control – and spilling hot drinks on it could cause technical equipment to overheat or trigger a system shutdown.