A heated argument between two Jet Airways pilots turned violent when the pilot Raj Kalra allegedly manhandled his co-pilot Rohit Ramchandran, leading the latter to walk off flight 9W542 from Mumbai to Dubai; the flight finally took off after the co-pilot was replaced.
The cockpit of a Jet Airways flight witnessed a spat between the pilot and the co-pilot around half an hour before take-off, during which the pilot allegedly manhandled his partner.
The tiff led to the latter abandoning the flight and refusing to fly and the airline management had to arrange for a replacement co-pilot for the flight, causing a delay of nearly an hour and a half. The incident occurred on Jet Airways’ flight 9W542 to Dubai, whose scheduled take-off time from Mumbai international airport was 9.06 am.
An airport official said there was no guarantee of the two men remaining calm mid-air and, thus, the co-pilot was replaced. File pic for representation
However, around half an hour earlier, when the pilot and co-pilot reported to the cockpit to prepare for take-off, the duo got into an argument.
According to another pilot who flies with the airline, the captain and co-pilot started arguing bitterly in the cockpit, and matters took a turn for the worse when the pilot allegedly got physical.
“The pilot manhandled the co-pilot and both of them got into a heated argument. The reason for which is unknown,” said the pilot. The captain of the flight is said to be Raj Kalra, while the co-pilot reportedly was Rohit Ramchandran.
A furious Ramchandran walked off and complained to the airline management about the incident, and refused to fly. Realising that bickering pilots would not be very good for passenger safety, the airlines sent a replacement co-pilot, said to be Kalwachalla Pourug. He was originally slated to fly on a Thiruvananthapuram-bound flight. Instead, Ramchandran flew to Thiruvananthapuram as a co-pilot.
An airport official explained, “There was no guarantee of these two men remaining calm mid-air, due to which the management decided to switch the co-pilot and the flight took off safely later.”
However, departure was delayed by 1 hour and 23 minutes, and the flight left for Dubai only at 10.29 am.
Another staff member from the airline added, “We are aware about the argument between the two pilots, but the reason for the fight is not known. The co-pilot has reportedly brought it to the management’s notice and the airline is said to have launched an inquiry into the incident.”
When mid-day contacted the Jet Airways spokesperson for comment on the matter, the spokesperson replied to the questionnaire with a one-line statement, “Your information herein is incorrect.” The email bore no responses as to the flight delay and the exact reason for the delay.